RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Monterrey Bravo Burgers (a.k.a. Cilantro, Lime, Avocado topped, Monterrey Jack, Mexican Spiced Cheese Burgers)

I have had the privilege of doing mission work in Mexico, from working with deaf children in Rio Bravo to helping open a children's home in Monterrey. I fell in love with the people, the culture and the food. The fresh vegetables and herbs mixed with local spices kept me searching for new ways to bring the flavors of Mexico into my kitchen.


Cilantro Lime Avocado Topping:
1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in fourths
1 jalapeño, stem, seeds and membrane removed, and cut into fourths
1 lime
3 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 cup Italian dressing
1/4 cup cilantro, stems removed
3 cups romaine lettuce shredded
1 large avocado, diced

Cilantro Lime Dressing:
3/4 cup cilantro leaves, stems discarded and lightly packed
2 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream

2 pounds ground chuck
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup White Zinfandel
1 tablespoon butter, sliced into 6 equal slices
3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil for brushing the grill rack
1/4 pound dry Monterey Jack cheese, thinly shaved or sliced (if your deli does not have dry jack, a good Monterey Jack will work but you will need 1/2, sliced)
6 of your favorite hamburger buns


To make the dressing for the topping: Blend garlic, jalapeño, 1/2 tablespoon of grated lime zest and all of the juice from the lime in a small food processor or blender just until mixed. Pour mixture into a medium bowl and add olive oil, vinegar, sugar and Italian dressing, whisk until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

To make the cilantro lime mayonnaise: Blend cilantro and lime juice in a small food processor or blender until cilantro is liquefied. Pour into a small bowl and use a fork to blend in mayonnaise and sour cream until fully blended. Refrigerate until ready to use.

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

To make patties: Combine the chuck, garlic powder, oregano, chili powder, cumin, pepper, salt and wine in a large bowl, handling as little as possible. Divide into 6 equal portions, form each patty around a butter slice to fit the size of the bun. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set in refrigerator removing about 20 minutes before the grill is ready.

To finish up the dressing, remove the dressing from the refrigerator, add the cilantro and romaine lettuce and toss until completely coated. Add the avocados and toss gently, cover and set aside.

When grill is ready, brush the grill rack with 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 shaved cheese on the patties for the last 3 minutes of grilling. During the last 2 minutes of grilling place the buns cut side down on the outer edges of the grill to lightly toast.

To assemble the burgers: Spread generous amounts of cilantro lime mayonnaise over the cut sides of the buns. On each bottom side of the bun place, a patty and 1/2 cup of the cilantro lime topping. Add the bun tops and serve.


Although there are several steps in the topping, the dressing part can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time, as well as the cilantro lime mayonnaise. The fresh tastes are well worth it. Also an excellent beverage to serve with these Mexican inspired burgers is a frozen margarita with a White Zinfandel swirled. Muy Bein.