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Korean Bulgogi Burgers with Miso-Glazed Eggplant & Green Mango Slaw

These burgers were inspired by my relatively recent discovery of Korean cooking and bulgogi, a Korean barbecue. And I sure wish I discovered it sooner! Beef and pork patties are flavored with green onion, garlic and ginger. The slight sweetness of half-ripened mango mixes with crunchy leeks, cucumber and radishes, and they get a lift from spicy Korean red pepper paste and citrusy cilantro. Tender eggplant gets glazed with sweet salty fruity spice, with some umami added for good measure. Bulgogi . . . where have you been all my life?!

Ingredients 

Patties:

2 pounds freshly ground beef chuck

1/2 pound freshly ground pork

1/3 cup thinly sliced green onion

2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce

4 teaspoons minced fresh garlic

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger, including any juices

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse black pepper

1 teaspoon sea salt

Green Mango Slaw:

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 teaspoons Korean fermented red pepper paste

1 half-ripened peeled and cored mango, cut julienned

1 leek, tough green portion and root trimmed, halved lengthwise, washed, patted dry and cut julienned

1 cup seedless cucumber, cut julienned (peeled, if waxed)

1/2 cup trimmed, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced radishes

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Miso-Glazed Eggplant:

1 cup Sutter Home Gewurztraminer wine

2 tablespoons white miso

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons dark sesame oil

1 teaspoon Korean fermented red pepper paste

6 – 1/2-inch slices peeled large eggplant

Vegetable oil, for brushing the grill rack

6 bakery sesame-seeded Vienna burger rolls, split (egg-wash-glazed, with a slightly crisped crust and a soft, tender interior)

Instructions 

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

To make the patties, spread the ground chuck and ground pork out in a large shallow pan, sprinkle evenly with green onion, soy sauce garlic, ginger, pepper and salt and, handling the meat as little as possible, evenly mix ingredients into meat. Shape into 6 equal patties sized to fit the rolls. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to grill.

To make the slaw, in a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar and red pepper paste. Stir in mangoes, leeks, cucumbers, radishes and cilantro. Set aside until ready to serve.

To make the eggplant, when the grill is ready, add wine to a small fire-proof sauce pan and place on grill rack or on the side burner over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until reduced to 1/2 cup. Remove from heat and cool slightly. In a large bowl, whisk together wine, miso, honey, sesame oil and red pepper paste until evenly blended. Add eggplant slices to bowl and let set for 15 to 20 minutes, turning slices occasionally to help absorb some of the sauce. Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil and place eggplant slices on grill rack. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, turning once and brushing occasionally with sauce, until eggplant is softened and nicely charred. Remove from grill to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Scrape down grill rack and burn off as necessary.

To grill the patties, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place patties on the grill rack, cover and cook, turning once until cooked to preference, 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking, place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.

To assemble the burgers, place an eggplant slice followed by a patty on each roll bottom. Evenly divide slaw on patties, add the roll tops and serve with some napkins and a big ‘ol smile! Makes 6 burgers.

Comments 

Fermented Korean red pepper paste is available in the Asian section of most well-stocked supermarkets. It’s also available at most Asian markets. I use a brand made in Korea distributed by Jayone Foods. The mango shouldn’t be too ripe or else it will be too soft to julienne nicely. It’s best to use an eggplant that’s about as round as the patties and the rolls. I use rolls from Wegmans bakery.