RECIPES: Recipe Details

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ACHIOTE MERLOT BURGERS WITH HERB VEGGIE SALSA AND CREAMY CILANTRO PESTO SAUCE

Ingredients 

Sauce:
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup cojita cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup toasted unsalted whole almonds (shells/skins removed)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
2 garlic cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Mexican crema (or sour cream)

Salsa:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 cup fresh corn kernels (or defrosted frozen kernels)
1 small jalapeno, seeds & ribs removed, finely chopped
1 cup tomato, seeded & chopped
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped (preferably Mexican oregano if available)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Patty:
2 pounds ground chicken
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons achiote paste, crumbled
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 cup SUTTER HOME White Merlot wine
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil for brushing on grill
6 slices Monterey Jack cheese
6 good quality onion hamburger rolls, split

Instructions 

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To prepare sauce place 1/2 cup cilantro, cojita cheese, almonds, 1 tablespoon olive oil, lime zest, 2 garlic cloves, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in food processor and process until everything is finely chopped. Add mayonnaise and crema and process again until well combined. Spoon into small bowl, cover, and set aside or place in refrigerator until ready to assemble burgers.

Place a large fire-proof skillet over medium-high heat on grill. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to pan. When hot, add bell pepper, onion, corn, and jalapeno. Cook about 4-6 minutes or until vegetables are fork-tender. Add tomato and cook an additional 1-2 minutes or until heated through. Remove from heat and stir in 3 tablespoons cilantro, oregano, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. Cover to keep warm, set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, add chicken, cornmeal, and 3 minced garlic cloves. In small bowl whisk together achiote paste, lime juice, wine, cumin, salt, and pepper until achiote paste is softened and dissolved into liquid. Pour over chicken and gently combine everything in bowl being careful not to overmix. Form into 6 patties, cover lightly with plastic wrap, set aside until ready to cook.

Brush grill rack with vegetable oil. Place patties on rack, cover, and cook, turning once until cooked through about4-6 minutes per side. During last 2 minutes of cooking, place rolls, cut side down, on outer edges of grill rack to toast lightly and place a slice of cheese on top of each patty.

To assembler burgers, spread sauce over both cut sides of roll. Place a patty on each roll bottom, then top with salsa and tops of rolls.

Makes 6 burgers

Comments 

I’ve always been intrigued by the "red-colored" chicken dishes that I’ve gotten over the years at many Mexican restaurants. I always thought they would be difficult to make at home but after discovering achiote paste I’ve been able to make recipes at home. Achiote paste can be found at many well stocked grocery stores, Mexican markets, or online sources (such as mexgrocer.com). Made from annatto seeds and other spices, it turns dishes a vibrant red color and gives everything an interesting and unique subtle flavor.