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The Bayou Pita Burger with Olive Oil And Garlic Sauteed Halloumi Cheese And Diced Ripe Tomato

Baton Rouge, Louisiana has a large number of Middle Eastern and Greek restaurants. This burger reflects the combination of the ingredients and methods of the Mediteranian and the Bayous of Louisiana.

Ingredients 

2 large Vidalia onions
PATTY INGREDIENTS:
1/4 ounce envelope Knox unflavored gelatin
2 teaspoons light brown sugar (firmly packed)
2 teaspoon Wyler's sodium free beef bullion
1/4 cup hot onion water
1/4 cup cold onion water
2 pounds coarsely ground chuck roast--ground once
1 cup finely chopped fresh green onions
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons table salt

6 whole wheat pita bread halves

12 1/4" thick slices of Halloumi cheese
water for rinsing and soaking the Halloumi cheese
1/2 cup Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 large cloves of garlic pressed
1 cup 1/4" diced ripe tomato
1 cup 1/4" diced cucumber
1 cup chopped romaine lettuce

Instructions 

TO MAKE THE ONION WATER:
In a blender or food processor liquify the Vidalia onions. Strain the liqufied onion through a fine metal strainer capturing the strained onion water.
TO MAKE THE PATTIES:
Heat 1/4 cup of the onion water in a pan over the gas grill to about 130 degrees F. Add the gelatin, brown sugar and beef bullion to the hot onion water and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved then add the cold onion water and stir to form a gelatin solution.
Gently, but thoroughly, combine the gelatin solution, ground chuck, chopped green onions, chopped parsley, garlic powder, Tabasco sauce, black pepper and table salt to form a seasoned patty mixture. Form the patty mixture into 6 square-shaped patties. Cover and refrigerate the patties until ready to grill.

COOKING THE PATTIES:
Preheat a gas grill to medium heat. When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with the vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, for 10-12 minutes turning every 3-4 minutes, until an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees F is reached and the patties are done to preference. Place the pita bread halves on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly during the last 2 minutes of grilling turning after about 1 minute.

SAUTED HALLOUMI CHEESE AND DICED TOMATO:
Rinse the Halloumi cheese slices in water then place them in a bowl of fresh water to soak until ready to saute.
Preheat a gas grill to medium hot. Place a non-stick pan onto the preheated grill and allow to come to heat. Remove the Halloumi cheese slices from the soaking water and pat dry. Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil, wait 20 seconds or so and then add the dried Halloumi cheese slices. Allow the cheese slices to cook until the bottom of each slice is browned, then turn the cheese slices and add the pressed garlic. Continue to cook the cheese and garlic until the second side of the cheese slices are browned while regulating the heat of the pan by moving it on and off the grill so that the garlic is not allowed to brown significantly. When the second side of the cheese slices are browned, remove the pan from the grill and add the diced tomato stirring to cover the diced tomato with the warm olive oil and garlic.
To assemble the burgers, cut each cooked patty diagonally in half and place the two patty halves inside the pocket of a toasted pita half along with 2 slices of the browned Halloumi cheese, and equal portions of the diced tomatoes, diced cucumber and chopped romaine lettuce.
Makes 6 Bayou Pita Burgers

Comments 

The gelatin solution in these burgers makes them wonderfully juicy, much like the gelatin in slow cooked ribs makes them juicy. They can easily be cooked to a higher internal temperature than most burgers without drying out and don't require anything like mayonnaise, mustard or ketchup to add juiciness. The gelatin solution also causes the outside of the patties to brown more quickly so the patties should be cooked on a lower heat and turned more frequently than is traditional.