RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Chamorro Taga Man Burger

I love the taste and smells of the beach fiestas on the little island of Saipan, where I was raised. We would bar-b-que with our Chamorro neighbors and enjoy the flavors of keleguan tortillas topped off with finadene sauce. This is a tribute to the Micronesian flavors of our U.S. Commonwealth; The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands.

Ingredients 

Keleguan:
2 red Thai peppers, finely minced, with seeds
2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 c. green onions, finely chopped (use the lower green stem)
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
½ c. unsweetened chilled coconut cream
Avocado Finadene Condiment:
1 large ripe Haas avocado
¼ c. finely chopped green onions (white part)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill weed
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. lemon zest
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon,
2 Tbsp.  mustard
Taga Man Patties:
1 lb. sirloin steak, 1 inch cubes
1 lb. rib eye steak, 1 inch cube6
Kaiser buns, split
6 small crisp romaine leaves
8 oz. can of pickled beet slices, drained

Instructions 

On a chopping board, finely mince 2 red Thai peppers. Use plastic gloves if sensitive to peppers. Add 2 tsp. of ground sea salt in a small pile to your board and chop ½ c. of the green portion of green onions into the salt. Finely mince 2 large garlic cloves into the salt and onions. Spoon the thick cream from the top of the chilled coconut cream to measure ½ cup, and add to the food processor. Add the minced peppers, onions, garlic and salt to the coconut cream and process briefly. Let the mixture sit to build and blend the spices while preparing the avocado condiment. Pit and scoop out the avocado, chop it into small pieces on the board, put the avocado into a small freezer bag. Add 1 tsp. salt in a small pile on your board. Finely chop the white part of the green onion together with the dill weed on top of the salt. Add to the bag. Zest the lemon and squeeze about 2 Tbsp. lemon juice into the bag, then add the  mustard. Carefully eliminate the air from the bag and seal. Mash the contents of the bag together with your fingers until blended and of a paste consistency. Refrigerate. Process your sirloin steak and rib eye steak separately using approximately 10 pulses to achieve a hamburger grind. Lightly mix the two ground steaks together. Carefully mix the hamburger and the coconut and spice mixture together. Form your six hamburger patties, slightly depressing the centers so they cook evenly on the grill. They should be slightly larger than the buns. Coat your grill by wiping a thin layer of corn oil onto it. When the coals are white hot on the outside and the grill is hot, lay your hamburger patties on the grill and grill them until they register approximately 160 F in the center. This will take approximately 4 minutes of cooking time on each side of the patties. After the patties have been grilled to perfection, take them from the grill and lightly toast the buns over the coals. Build the hamburgers by placing the romaine leaves on the bottom bun, then add the beet slices. Place the beef patty over the beets. Add the avocado finadene condiment to the beef patty by snipping a small hole in the corner of the freezer bag and squeezing out the condiment. Top with the other bun half and serve.

Comments 

I would serve these burgers with Sutter's White Merlot wine, its slightly sweet flavor nicely offsets the Thai peppers' fire. I enjoyed pairing the flavors of dill and mustard with red beet pickles. I had never tried those flavors together before, they work beautifully. The coconut cream, lemon and red peppers set each other off superbly. They are often used together in island recipes, but I had never seen them used in a burger recipe. I had some fun reversing the normal colors of a hamburger. The condiment is green instead of the traditional red ketchup, and the "green" dill pickle is now red.