Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pork-Chorizo-Bacon Burgers

Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin
Makes 6 burgers
Pork-Chorizo-Bacon Burger with Manchego Cheese, Romesco Sauce, Aioli & Arugula
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for toasting the buns and grilling the burgers
2 large shallots, diced
1 Tbl minced garlic
1 Tbl thyme, chopped
2 dried chiles de arbol, thinly sliced
2 # ground pork
1/4 # fresh Mexican chorizo, casing removed
3 oz bacon, finely diced
2 Tbl flat-leaf parsley, chopped
6 sliced Manchego cheese
6 brioche or challah buns
Aioli (see recipe below)
Romesco Sauce (see recipe below)
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Toast the cumin seeds over medium heat in a medium-sized sauté pan, for a few minutes, until the seeds darken slightly and become aromatic.  Coarsely grind the toasted cumin seeds in a spice grinder.
Place the sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the olive oil, and then the shallots to the pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots start to soften, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the garlic, thyme, sliced chile and ground cumin.  Season with salt and pepper and cook another 3-5 minutes, until the shallots become translucent.  Set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, and using clean hands, gently combine the ground pork, chorizo, bacon, shallot mixture, chopped parsley and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.  Make sure to combine the ingredients gently, so as not to over-work the meat, which would toughen the burgers.  Shape the meat into six 6-ounce patties, shaping each one loosely into a ball until it just comes together, and then gently flattening it slightly to form a patty.  Chill in the refrigerator if not grilling right away.  In fact, these benefit from a rest in the refrigerator.  Make them up to one day ahead, to allow the flavors to meld together.
Preheat the grill to very hot, about 30 minutes. Here’s a way to tell if your grill is at the right temperature.  Hold your hand right over it.  If you you can keep it there for five seconds, it’s not hot enough.  If you can’t hold it there for even half a second, it's too hot.  When the grill is hot, scrape it clean with a metal brush.  Soak a rag or a bunch of paper towels with a few tablespoons of vegetable oil, and using tongs, rub it over the grill rack. 

Just before grilling, generously season both sides of each patty with salt and pepper.  Brush the burger patties with olive oil, then arrange the burgers over the hottest area of the grill, over direct heat. Grill, uncovered, without pressing down on the patties (For some reason, people always want to do this.  They think it speeds up the cooking time.  But all it accomplishes is to squeeze out precious juice).  Cook until well seared on the first side, about 3-4 minutes.  Flip the burgers over with a metal spatula, top each with about a slice of Manchego cheese, then continue cooking - about 3-4 more minutes, until the pork is just cooked through.  (It should remain slightly pink in the center.)

Slice the buns in half, then brush the insides evenly with extra-virgin olive oil.  Right after you’re done grilling the burgers, toast the buns on the grill, cut side down, until lightly browned, about a minute. 

Spread aioli on both sides of the bun.  Place a burger, cheese side up, on the bottom bun, then top the burger with a generous dollop of romesco sauce.  Arrange a generous bunch or arugula over the romesco, then top with the top half of the bun.  Serve immediately.