RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Calabaza Burgers con Queso Blanco and Zesty Tropical Salsa


I really wanted a Latin burger with some of the flavors of Puerto Rico. Pumpkin is very popular in Mexico but island spices, watercress and other elements are more of a Puerto Rican cuisine. The smokiness of the paprika is a Spanish contribution. Pumpkin adds a warm tone to the burgers and makes them moist. Mango softens the heat. The chicharrones add a lovely crispness and flavor.

Ingredients 

Zesty Tropical Salsa:
1 cup firm, ripe mango, diced small
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 small jalapeno pepper, seeded, and finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons sweetened, flaked coconut
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 fresh garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon Goya Adobo Bitter Orange seasoning
1/4 teaspoon Original Tabasco Hot Sauce

Patties:
3/4 cup good-quality, canned, plain, solid-packed pumpkin pulp
1/3 cup yellow onion, chopped finely
2 chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce, drained, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons fine, dry, plain breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 fresh cloves garlic, minced
1 packet Goya Sazon Seasoning with Coriander and Annatto
1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 pounds ground beef chuck, well-chilled

Vegetable oil for brushing grill
8 ounces Queso Blanco Cheese, cut into 1/4 inch slice
6 large Kaiser rolls, poppyseed or cornmeal dusted, split
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing rolls
6 1/3 inch fresh, ripe, large red tomato slices
1 bunch of fresh watercress
18 light and puffy chicharrones (pork rinds)

Instructions 

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

To prepare Zesty Tropical Salsa, combine all salsa ingredients, in a medium glass or ceramic bowl. Fold with a spatula, till well-mixed. Wrap and set aside in cool place.

To prepare patties, combine pumpkin, onion, chipotles, and breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Stir till well-mixed. Add cilantro, garlic, Sazon seasoning, paprika, salt, black pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix well. Add chilled handfuls of ground chuck and mix together with other ingredients, handling,as little as possible, to avoid compacting meat mixture. Form into 6 equal, round patties to fit rolls. Wrap and refrigerate.

When grill is ready, brush or dab down grill rack with vegetable oil. Place patties on grill and cover. Cook 4-5 minutes, on each side, for medium, or more till your desired preference. Turn only once and do not press them.

Brush all split sides of rolls lightly with olive oil. When patties are turned, arrange Queso Blanco cheese slices, in equal portions on top of each patty, to warm and soften. In last couple of minutes of cooking, place all olive oil-brushed sides of rolls down on outer rack, to toast till golden.

To assemble burgers, take the six toasted bottoms and arrange watercress leaves, in equal portions, atop each. Place fresh tomato slice on each. Place cheese-topped patty on each. With slotted spoon, place equal portions of salsa on each. Place 3 chicharrones on top of each. Lightly set toasted roll top on each and serve immediately.
Makes 6 generous burgers.