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Havana Mojito Burger

I was born in raised in Miami, Florida and currently live in Miami Beach. Growing up in South Florida, I was exposed at a young age to the vibrant flavors and ingredients of the Caribbean and Latin America. There is a very strong Cuban prescence in South Florida, and I still distinctly remember my first experience with Cuban cuisine. My Mother took me to a Cuban cafeteria, and ordered a Cuban sandwich for us to share. A traditional Cuban sandwich is made on Cuban bread with ham, roasted pork, swiss cheese, slice pickles, and mustard. Once assembled, the sandwich is pressed on a flat sandwich press called a plancha. After my first bite, I remember thinking that this sandwich was certainly more interesting than the peanut butter and jelly that I was used to eating at that age.

My love for cooking has always had its roots in the bold, yet refreshing flavors of Miami. With this recipe, I am paying tribute to the tastes the inspired me to be an avid home cook.

Ingredients 

4 tablespoon yellow mustard
2 tablespoons dill relish
1 1/3 pounds ground chuck
1/3 pound ground chorizo (taken out of casing if encased)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon adobo seasoning blend
1 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 medium yellow onions
1 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons fresh chopped mint
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Juice of 3 limes
1/4 cup light rum
1/2 cup canola oil
2 ripe plantains (spotty black or completely black)
6 slices thin swiss cheese
1 loaf of Cuban bread

Instructions 

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

In a small mixing bowl, combine the mustard and dill relish. Mix together well, then cover and set aside for use later.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground chuck, chorizo, salt, pepper, and adobo seasoning. Mix thoroughly with your hands until the chuck, chorizo, and spices are completely incorporated. Make 3 burger patties, measuring 7 inches long, and 4 inches wide. Cover the patties with plastic wrap and set aside.

Peel 3 medium yellow onion and cut them in half. Then cut down on the onion creating half moon shaped strips that are about 1/4 inch thick. Put a BBQ safe pan on the grill and add the butter to the pan. Once the butter is melted and bubbling slightly, add the onions to the pan. Using a wooden spoon, mix the onions around the pan intermittently to spread the heat evenly. After 8 minutes, add the fresh mint and sugar to the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add the juice from the limes and stir for another 2 minutes. Add the rum, and take the pan off of the grill. Take a kitchen lighter and ignite the rum in the pan then return the pan to the grill. Do not attempt to light the rum when the pan is still on the grill, as this can be dangerous. Cook the onion mixture for another 3 minutes and take the pan off of the grill. The onions should take about 15 minutes total on the grill.

Halfway through cooking the onion, put the hamburger patties on the grill. Cook the first side for 5-6 minutes, flip over, and cook the other side for 5-6 minutes. During the last 2 minutes of cooking the second side of the burgers, add 2 slides of swiss cheese to each patty. Once the patties are done, take them off of the grill for assembly of the burger.

After first putting the patties on the grill, put a BBQ safe pan on the grill and add the canola oil. While the oil is heating up, peel both plantains and slice on a bias, about 1/2 inch thick. Once the oil is hot, add the plantains to the pan and cook for about 4 minutes per side, making sure that the plantains are golden brown on both sides. Remove the pan from the heat and put the plantains on a paper towel drain off excess oil.

For assembly, cut the ends off of the Cuban bread, and make three 7 inch long pieces of bread. Cut each piece in half length wise. Cover the bottom half of each piece of bread with plantains. Put the patties on top of the plantains, followed by the onions. Before covering the burger with the top half of the bread, spread the pickle mustard mixture generously on each top piece of bread. Once the burgers are assembled, put a large BBQ safe pan on the grill and let the pan get hot. Put each burger in the pan, bottom side down, and use a hand sandwich press or another weight to firmly press down on the burgers. After a minute and a half, flip the burgers over, and press the top side of the burgers for another minute and a half. Transfer the burgers from the pan to a cutting board, putting the burgers top side up. Cut the burgers diagonally across, creating 6 halves.

Plate and enjoy.

Makes 6 servings

Comments 

Thank you for considering my recipe. My goal was to take the concept of the Cuban sandwich and reinterpret it into a burger, using some classic Cuban ingredients. Sweet plantains have always been one of my favorite Cuban dishes, and nothing says Miami better than a mojito, which is why I decided to make the onions with mint, sugar, and rum.