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Choco Mole Filet Burger with Cranberry Orange Salsa and Creamy Chile & Cilantro Sauce

This burger is inspired by two of my favorite things, chocolate and the Southwest lifestyle. I have always enjoyed the complex flavors of Beef Mole made with a dark chocolate, regional spices and peppers. I imagined this gourmet burger, paired with a creamy sauce, salty Manchego cheese, and the sweet bite of cranberry and orange salsa, to complete a mouth full of pure satisfaction. My thoughts are, that paired with the perfect wine, any reason to put the rich flavor of chocolate as an ingredient, is just one more expression of a perfectly delectable experience.


Cranberry Orange Salsa
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup fresh grape tomatoes
1 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
2 Serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
(use gloves while cutting and seeding peppers)
1 tablespoon of sweetened orange marmalade
1 teaspoon lime zest
Juice of 1/2 of a fresh lime
1 teaspoon orange zest
Juice of 1/2 of a fresh orange
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

2 pounds ground chuck
1 pound beef tenderloin filet, finely diced
1/4 cup grated bittersweet chocolate (62%Cacao, Baking Bar)
1 tablespoon ground coffee
1 tablespoon Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon Tabasco Sauce
Juice of 1 whole fresh lime
4 tablespoons salted butter, cold, diced
1 pound Manchego cheese, rinded and sliced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Creamy Green Chile & Cilantro Sauce
3/4 pound sour cream
2 Pablano green chiles, stemmed, seeded, grilled, peeled, finely diced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1/2 of a fresh lime
1 pinch of kosher salt
1 pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
1 1/2 large red peppers, stemmed, seeded, grilled, sliced into quarters
2 cups shredded cabbage
2 cups shredded red cabbage
6 Kaiser onion cheese rolls or Kaiser rolls
4 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
To make the Cranberry Orange Salsa, combine dried cranberries, grape tomatoes,
yellow bell pepper, Serrano peppers, orange marmalade, lime zest, lime juice, orange zest, orange juice, and ginger in the bowl of a food processor, fitted with a medium blade. Chop to medium consistency. Refrigerate until ready to assemble burgers.

To make Burgers, combine ground chuck, diced filet, chocolate, coffee, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, and lime juice. Ensure the ingredients are well distributed throughout the meat, but don't overwork the mixture. Add the cold diced butter at the end. Divide the meat into 6 portions to fit the bun size, and shape each portion into a patty. Salt and pepper the patties on both sides. Place the patties onto a platter, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside and refrigerate until ready to use.

Grill the Red Peppers and the Pablano chile peppers. Place on heated grill skin-side down 4-5 minutes. Turn to other side and grill 3-4 minutes depending on heat of the grill. Watch for the peppers skin to char. Cover loosely, set aside.

To make Creamy Green Chile & Cilantro Sauce, combine sour cream, Pablano green chiles, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. Mix well and keep refrigerated, until ready to assemble burgers.

Slice Kaiser Rolls and butter both sides.
When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. Place the Manchego cheese slices on the patties during the last 3 minutes of grilling. Place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly during the last 3 minutes of grilling.

To assemble the burgers, spread on bun bottom, equal portions of the creamy green chile & cilantro sauce, approximately 1 tablespoon each of shredded cabbage and red shredded cabbage, one slice of grilled red pepper, followed by a cheese-topped patty. Spread the top bun with Cranberry Orange Salsa and top the burger and serve.

Serves six