What’s for dinner? Chipotle Pork Cheeseburgers

Chipotle Pork Cheeseburgers, from Gourmet, June 2009

Chipotle Pork Cheeseburgers, from Gourmet, June 2009

I realized yesterday that I had hit a new stage of this experiment — going beyond slavishly reproducing the recipe intact, and while still at the grocery story considering what should go well with the dish in question. Last night it was which wine to pour (decision: chianti classico), and for tonight’s meal I realized the recipe was for “just” the cheeseburgers, and thus we would probably benefit from some sort of side dish.

“What sort of vegetable would go with Chipotle Pork Cheeseburgers?” I wondered. I considered my old grill standbys, slices of squash and tomatoes, before I saw the white corn on sale. “Perfect!” I thought, because the same issue of Gourmet had included a recipe for Salvadoran Grilled Corn, as a suggested side to a main dish I had dismissed because of its lengthy cooking time. As an added bonus, the sauce for the corn worked well as the “mayo” on the burger, too. Mr. Brooks was, of course, unable to enjoy this on a toasted bun, as I was, but guess what? Not everything in the world’s about him and his gluten-free living. Some days it’s gonna be about a delicious, drippy burger on a toasted bun.

I couldn’t find the corn-sauce recipe online, here it is: 1/4 cup each Dijon mustard, ketchup (optional) and mayonnaise, stirred together. Then slather cooked corn with it and sprinkle with coarsely grated queso blanco or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. (And if you want, serve with cayenne, lime wedges or sea salt.)  Because there were only two of us and a lot of sauce, I was kind of happy to be able to use a little more of it on the cheeseburger bun — or, for Mr. Brooks, a dollop atop the burger itself.

Cost of ingredients (for both dishes): $10.31 plus tax. The chipotles in adobo were left over from a previous recipe, and I already had garlic, mayonnaise, ketchup, Dijon mustard and salt on hand.

Substitutions: I went against specific instructions and bought lean ground pork because (1) it was the only ground pork they had at the store, and (2) although I can understand how fat = flavor, fat also = fat, and I am not so interested in too much of that. I also used regular Parmesan cheese instead of Parmigiano Reggiano, because I had it in the refrigerator.

As easy as they said? Indeed, especially because I skipped the “presentation” part of the corn, which required: pulling back the husks; leaving them attached like a handle; tying everything back with a single strip of husk; then arranging the cobs on the grill so the corn would be over the heated part, but the husk would be over a part that was heated only indirectly. I wanted corn, and I wanted it fast, so I just ripped off the husks and cooked it like people on their patio are supposed to. (But God bless my co-worker Julie for assuming that the photos I was posting in these entries were pictures I had taken of my own dishes. I’m not saying I couldn’t DO it, mind you — I’m just saying I’m too lazy to try it.)

How’d THAT go over? I vote yay. I wish I could have found corn with bigger, juicier kernels, though. It was kind of letdown to be spending all that chomping-time to get rewarded with a mouthful of pieces the size of BBs. They were, however, much more delicious than BBs.

Would I make it again? Indeed. The pork mixed things up nicely — and if you watch your cooking time, you don’t have to worry about dryness. I also significantly ratcheted up the amount of chilis and adobo in the burgers, because I am a fan of that flavor, but it’s by no means one of those “They taste like burning!” dishes that New Mexican cuisine is sort of famous for.


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