Green Chile Bacon Cheeseburgers

To my great happiness, it is once again Hatch Chile Season!  The Hatch Chile hails from the small town of Hatch, NM – arguably the pepper capital of North America.  Hatch Chiles are exactly the same pepper as the well-known Anaheim Pepper, but because they are grown in the rocky soil of arid Southern New Mexico the plants have to work hard to survive.  This results in an intensely spicy-sweet flavor like nothing else in the world.  Due to the short growing season, Hatch Chiles are usually only available in August and September so make the most of them while they’re available!  This recipe is for the Green Chile Cheeseburger.  You can use frozen or canned chiles if need be, but there is nothing like fresh green Hatch Chiles roasted over mesquite.

Time: 30 – 45 Minutes
Level: Intermediate
Cost: $6-8/plate
Serves: 4

Ingredients

For the Green Chile Sauce:

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup roasted, peeled, and coarsely chopped Hatch Chiles. (You’ll need about 5 fresh ones to get a cup).  See the optional preparation step in this recipe for instructions on how to do this; otherwise canned ones are okay.
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano

For the Burgers:

  • 1 lb fresh ground beef, 85% fat; 15% lean, formed into 4 patties (or premade fresh patties).
  • Enough bacon for two strips per burger
  • 4 Hamburger Buns, toasted.
  • 4 slices Asadero, Oaxaca, or Queso Fresco cheese. (These cheeses are usually sold in rounds, so you might need to slice them yourself.  They are very similar to Mozzarella but have a distinct pungent yet delicious flavor and tend to be a bit firmer).
  • Fresh Lettuce

Instructions:

For the Green Chile Sauce:

In a medium sauce pan, Melt 2 TBSP butter over medium heat until foaming.  Add garlic and onions; sauté until fragrant and onions are translucent, 3-5 minutes.  Add flour, cumin, salt and pepper and stir continuously until very lightly browned and a light, subtle, nutty fragrance can be detected.  Be careful not to burn things at this point!  Stir in the chicken stock; simmer and reduce until fairly thick (in case you hadn’t figured it out, you’re basically making gravy up to this point).   Add chiles and oregano; reduce heat to low, and allow sauce to thicken to desired consistency.  Use immediately or refrigerate and use for up to one day later.

For the Burgers:

Preheat oven to 400F; preheat grill to high.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lay a cooling rack or spare grill-grate over the baking sheet (it should be elevated slightly above the baking sheet).  Lay bacon strips onto cooling rack and bake for 20 minutes, or until crispy.

While the bacon is cooking, toast the buns on the grill.  (Pro-tip:  Toast the buns FIRST, then grill the burgers – better hot burgers on a room-temperature bun than cold burgers on a warm bun!)

Season burger patties aggressively with salt and pepper. Grill burgers over high heat, 3-5 minutes per side.  A good way to know when to flip them over is when the juices begin to pool on the top.  Read how to make the perfect burger for more tips on burger nirvana.

Add the cheese about two minutes before the burgers are done.  If you haven’t already done so, cover the grill at this point.

Final Assembly

Lay burgers on bottom half of toasted buns, top with green Hatch chile sauce (right on the cheese), add bacon, more sauce, lettuce on top, top of bun.

Enjoy!

 

 

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