RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Rockin’ Oaxacan Red Molé Burgers with Street Cart Corn Salad

My inspiration came from the high-end food trucks now found in Los Angeles. The diversity of the cultures there were a natural to develop into this trend. I grew up there and I began combining ethnic influences in the cooking I did for my family many years ago. I wanted to be able to do the same wonderful flavors, but with my personal twists.

Ingredients 

1 ¾ pounds Roma tomatoes, cut in half, lengthwise

½ pound Anaheim peppers

2 medium ears fresh corn, husks and silks removed

2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

6 tablespoons grated white onion

2 ½ pounds ground beef chuck, 20% fat

12 strips thick-cut hickory smoked bacon

¼ cup Tabasco brand chipotle pepper sauce

½ cup dark raisins

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ cup sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon food base, chicken

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 ounce 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate

2 tablespoons melted butter

¾ teaspoon chili powder

2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice

1 avocado, peeled, seeded and cut into ¼" dice

¼ cup green onion sliced thinly

¾ cup (3 ounces) shredded aged Manchego cheese

Vegetable oil, for rubbing on the rack

6 brioche hamburger rolls, split

Instructions 

To begin preparing the sauce and the salsa, place the tomatoes cut side up, the peppers, and the corn on a gas grill at medium-high heat. Close the cover and wait 2-3 minutes. Turn the peppers and corn (do not turn the tomatoes) every 2-3 minutes making sure to close the cover every time for a total time of 15 minutes. The vegetables will be deeply charred. Remove the vegetables from the heat and cover with aluminum foil and allow them to steam for 10 minutes.

To make the patties, mix the Thai fish sauce, salt, and white onion in a large bowl. Add the ground beef chuck and mix lightly into the seasonings. Do not compact. Shape mixture into 6 equal patties. Set aside until grilling.

Cook the bacon in a fire-proof skillet on the grill over medium-high heat until browned. Drain bacon on paper towels and reserve the bacon for assembly later. Discard the bacon fat from the skillet and wipe it with paper towels. Reserve the skillet for use with the sauce.

Peel the skin from the tomatoes and place them into a food processor work bowl fitted with a metal blade. Peel, seed and stem the Anaheim peppers and add them to the processor work bowl followed by the Tabasco sauce, raisins, cloves, cumin, allspice, vinegar, brown sugar, chicken-flavored food base and olive oil. Run the processor for about 2 minutes until sauce is smooth. Pour sauce mixture into the fire-proof skillet reserved from cooking the bacon and place on the grill over medium-high heat. Add the chocolate. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, occasionally stirring, to thicken. Take off heat and cover with foil.

For the corn salad, put the butter in a fire-proof saucepan and place on the grill at medium –high heat. Remove the saucepan when the butter is just melted, 3o seconds. Add the paprika and lime juice. Cut the kernels from the ears of corn and add to the saucepan. Add the avocado and green onion. Toss lightly to coat evenly. Cover and keep until assembling the burgers.

Heat the grill to medium-high heat. When the grill is ready, rub the grill rack with the vegetable oil using paper towels or a cloth towel to prevent sticking. Place the patties on the rack and cook for 4 - 5 minutes, until done to preference then turn and cook an additional 4-5 minutes. Remove the patties from the grill and place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.

To assemble the burgers, top each bun bottom with strips of bacon, breaking them to fit and cover (this will help keep the juices from the sauce from making the bottom too soggy). Add some of the molé sauce, then a patty, a scoop of the corn salsa and finally some grated Manchego. Place a bun top toasted side down on top of the corn salad.

Makes 6 burgers

Comments 

I always believe in using the grill to it’s fullest when you’ve got one fired up (I’d grill spaghetti if I could), so I make a point at grilling vegetables when grilling meat. I decided to try a "riff" on a traditional red mole sauce using grilled vegetables to capture the added smokiness from the charring but make it a little bar-b-que in sweetness and tartness. I grew up in Southern California and remember the delicious buttered corn and chili on a stick you could get from the street food vendors and wanted to replicate that experience in a salad. I put it all together with a savory Thai fish sauce patty (also a Southern Californian influence) and added more smokey goodness from some bacon and found it all "rocked". The perfect cheese against the salad was a traditional aged Manchego. These burgers are worthy of the best high-end food trucks found in Los Angeles today.