Green chile & cheese stuffed burgers with chipotle ketchup


At the Chile Trail HQ we love nothing more than a morning of mindless surfing on the big Kahuna that is the worldwide web. Sure we say that we’re ‘working’, doing ‘research’ or ‘updating the website’. But let’s be honest, we’re shopping on eBay. Why, just the other day we nabbed a copy of Granny’s Beverly Hillbillies Cookbook. It was a rare, hard-to-find copy of this out-of-print classic. Out of print? Yes, we were shocked too.

But we digress…while surfing, we came across a statistic that we eat 50 billion hamburgers a year. I don’t mean ‘we’ as in we at the Chile Trail. Our number is significant but not quite that large. The folks that figured this out based it on 3 burgers per week per person. Hopefully they excluded the under 1-year olds who last time I checked aren’t quite ready for a Happy Meal.

It may sound like a lot but think about it – we LOVE burgers in this country. Heck, we’ve given them May and made it National Burger Month. Think about it – beer, chicken and pasta only get a day each but with burgers we’re doing a ticker tape parade for these guys for a whole month. And May has 31 days in it too…

Burgers are beautiful all year round but they come into their own during the summer when we stoke up the BBQ. Nothing screams summer more than a burger, unless you count the burn you got because you forgot to put on sunscreen. At the Chile Trail, we love a classic burger but we’re never happy to let well enough alone. So we make a stuffed burger with cheese and some Los Chileros green chile. Slather on a bit of chipotle-spiked ketchup and you’re celebrating burgers, no matter what month it is.

Green chile & cheese stuffed burgers with chipotle ketchup.

We’ve given amounts per burger so ramp it up based on numbers. A burger press is mighty handy to make pro-looking burgers, but not essential. The ketchup is enough for 3 or 4 burgers, so increase the quantities if you’re feeding crowds. We like to add some grilled red onions but add any garnish that suits your fancy.

6.5 oz hamburger meat per burger (or more if you’re really hungry)

2 strips of Los Chileros New Mexico whole green chile

2 slices of cheese – we like brie because we’re fancy but choose your favorite

Salt

Chipotle Ketchup

1/3 cup ketchup

½ tsp Los Chileros chipotle rub & mix

Splash of apple cider vinegar

To make the chipotle ketchup, mix the ketchup with the chipotle rub and splash of apple cider vinegar. Taste and add more chile if you like. Set aside until ready to serve.

To make the burgers, place the green chile strips in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit for a few minutes until rehydrated and pliable. Drain. If using a burger press, put half the meat in the bottom of the press. Top with the chile and cheese and seal with the other half of the meat.

Stoke up the barbecue or a griddle pan on the stove. Add a sprinkle of salt to your burger then cook to your liking. Serve on a bun or au naturel with a heavy hit of the chipotle ketchup.

Summer Sizzles

Summer is a good thing. A summer barbecue is a great thing. But (you knew there was going to be one, didn’t you?) that doesn’t mean you can throw an old pair of boots on the grill and it’s going to taste good. Nice weather and lots of beer and wine will only get you so far.

Illustration from Better Homes & Gardens "Barbecue Book," 1956, with spicy addition

Illustration from Better Homes & Gardens “Barbecue Book,” 1956, with spicy addition

Spice – that’s what the average BBQ is missing. Too many people slap a burger in a bun and call it a day. Take a bit of time, make a simple spice rub and you suddenly look like a culinary genius. It’s not hard – for heaven’s sake we’ve even given you a recipe. And if you don’t like a certain spice then skip it, change it around so it’s your own. To make it even easier, use one of our spice rubs and marinades. Lie. Tell your friends you made it yourself – we don’t care.

A word about chicken…We know folks love their chicken breasts but give a thigh a try. It’s dark meat so it stays juicier and it’s cheaper too. We promise one bite and you’ll love us more than you already do (which is a heck of a lot, isn’t it?).

And don’t forget to use sunscreen – on you, not the chicken.

Spicy Chicken Thighs

Serves 5 to 6

This marinade makes plenty for 3 pounds of chicken thighs – that’s about 12 or 13 thighs. Figure 2 to 3 thighs person.

Spice mixture:
½ tsp fennel seed
½ tsp cumin seed
¼ tsp coriander seed
¾ tsp pimenton
1 tsp Los Chileros ancho powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped in half

1 cup Greek/plain yogurt
A healthy glug of olive oil
3 lbs chicken thighs, boneless and skinless

Cilantro, chopped for garnish (optional)
Lime or lemon wedges (optional)

With a mortar and pestle, crush together the ingredients for the spice mixture. You’re aiming for a rough paste. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle (shame on you!) you could grind the spices in a coffee grinder, finely chop the garlic separately then mix the two together in a bowl.

photo 1photo 2Place the spice mixture in a large bowl, add the yogurt and a healthy glug of olive oil. Taste the mixture and adjust the intensity with more chile if you desire and additional salt if needed. Add the chicken thighs and toss to coat. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge to marinade. A couple of hours if okay but longer is better.

photo 3

Remove the thighs from the marinade, wiping off any excess. Place on a hot barbecue and cook on both sides until done (this will depend on the heat of your BBQ and the size of the thighs but figure around 10+ minutes).

photo 5

Remove and place on a serving platter. Garnish with chopped cilantro, a drizzle of olive oil and lime or lemon wedges if you desire. Serve hot or at room temperature.