We are so excited to be able to get outside and grill again so we asked food contributor Pati Jinich for one of her favorite summer recipes:
American food is very popular in Mexico, as Mexican food is here. When you think about it, once an ingredient or a dish of a country enters another country and becomes accepted, it gains a life of its own.
Take the hamburger. I use a homemade quick ancho chile paste to give it an extra layer of Mexican flavor. Just like my mom. She used to make these ancho chile burgers for our birthday parties as me and my sisters grew into teenagers. We felt more hip having funky burgers instead of kid-sized tacos. Plus, they were a hit with our friends.
They are a snap to make. The ancho chile has so many layers of flavor! Many people think of heat when they think of chilies but the ancho isn’t spicy at all, it is very mild. It has exuberant fruit flavors, with a hint of prunes and it makes the hamburgers a little smoky. The paste can be made weeks in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. You can add this paste to any ground meat dish but you can also rub it on steak or chicken before throwing it on the grill.
My mother used to mix half veal and half beef when making hamburgers, meatloaf or meatballs. It works out well, but it is not necessary. You can also use ground turkey. Serve these hamburgers with the traditional American trimmings: sliced onions, tomatoes, fresh lettuce, ketchup and mustard, but you can also have lime lime aioli as an option: it makes these tasty hamburgers bounce off the walls out of happiness.
I wouldn't dare call this hamburger traditional Mexican food, although the recipe has been in my family for more than four decades. Here or there, these hamburgers work out so well.
ANCHO CHILE MEXICAN HAMBURGERS WITH LIME AIOLI
Hamburguesas con Chile Ancho y Aioli de Limon
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 1/2 lbs ground veal
1 1/2 cup white onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves
4 ancho chiles, rinsed, seeded and soaked (explanation follows)
1 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Safflower or corn oil
1 cup mayonnaise
Juice of 1 lime, about 2 tbsp
1 tsp grate lime rind
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
8 hamburger buns
2 red tomatoes, sliced
8 iceberg or romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed and dried
1/2 white onion, sliced
Rinse the ancho chiles. On a chopping board, make a slit down their side and take out all of their seeds, veins and stems. Place the cleaned chiles in a small bowl and cover with 1/2 cup boiling hot water. Let it soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Places chiles in the blender along with the soaking liquid, onion and garlic, and puree until smooth.
In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef and veal. Add the chile mixture, two lightly beaten eggs, salt and pepper. Mix until it is all well incorporated.
Heat the griddle or pan over medium heat until very hot, about 6 to 8 minutes. Brush some oil on the girddle or pan.
With your hands, mold the patties and place them on the hot griddle or pan. Cook for about 4 to 6 minutes per side, depending on how well cooked you like your burgers. I like them medium-well, so it is about 5 minutes per side for me.
Place the garnishes on the table so that everyone can choose to their liking.
To make the lime aioli, place everything in a mixing bowl, and just mix it all up!
If you want to make this hamburger into a cheeseburger, Monterey jack is a great companion. Just place a slice of cheese on to the burger once you flipped it and let it melt as it finishes cooking.