Green Chile Avocado Cheeseburger
E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune; Shannon Kinsella/food styling

Recipe of the Day: Avocado and Hatch Green Chile Cheeseburger on Brioche

Better than your average burg
Green Chile Avocado Cheeseburger
E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune; Shannon Kinsella/food styling

At this point in the summer, it’s likely you’ve done your fair share of grilling. You’ve made ribs, steaks, chicken, sausages and hot dogs. Beyond all of those there’s one summertime staple you may be sick of by now: cheeseburgers. There’s only so many times you can top a grilled ground beef patty with American cheese, ketchup, mustard, onion, tomato and lettuce and still be satisfied. If you want to shape up your burger, allow us to introduce you to your new summertime fav: the green chile and avocado cheeseburger.

How to Grill Burgers: Tips and Tricks for the Best Patties Ever

If you like smoky flavors, this is the burger recipe for you.

It all starts with the hatch chiles. A beloved regional ingredient from Hatch Valley, New Mexico, hatch chiles aren't especially spicy; they're mild and have that signature smoky pepper flavor, not unlike a poblano. Thus, they are a versatile ingredient that's great in salsa, soups, dips and, of course, for topping burgers and other favorite summertime sandwiches.

The best way to serve these is by roasting them directly over a heat source, be it a grill or gas burner on the stove. This amps up the smokiness. Roast your chiles, turning them often, until the skins are charred on all sides. Then, remove the chiles, cover them with a towel and let them stand until they’re cool enough to handle. Gently slip the charred skin off the chiles, as these will taste quite bitter. Finally, cut the chiles open, remove the ribs and seeds (if desired for less heat), and chop the chiles.

Though hatch chiles are ideal here, if you can’t find fresh chiles in your area, you can easily use poblanos, Anaheim chiles or Cubanelles.

After prepping your chiles, it's time to grill the burgers. Mix a little cumin and salt into your meat for an extra kick of flavor. Let the spices soak into the meat as you cook an onion in a cast iron skillet. Finally, grill your burger until your desired doneness and top it with Monterey jack or pepper jack cheese. Finally, assemble it all together with sauteed onions, avocado and chiles and be prepared to have a restaurant-worthy burger at home.

Once you make this, you'll realize that burgers can be so much more than your standard fare. Keep the good times and experiments going with our 50 best burger recipes.

Green Chile and Avocado Cheeseburger on Brioche

This recipe by JeanMarie Brownson originally appeared in The Chicago Tribune.

Ingredients:

For the roasted green chiles:

  • Assorted fresh green chiles (such as Anaheim, cubanelles or poblanos)

For the burgers:

  • 1 pound ground bison (buffalo), ground beef (90 percent lean) or ground turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 large red onion, peeled, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds, separated into rings
  • 2 large Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, cut into long strips 
  • 6 thin slices Monterey jack cheese or pepper jack cheese
  • 1 medium ripe avocado, halved, pitted
  • 3 slices leaf lettuce
  • 3 brioche burger buns, split

Directions:

For the roasted green chiles:

Step 1: Rinse assorted fresh green chiles, and pat dry.

Step 2: Set chiles directly over a charcoal grill, gas grill or the gas burner on the range set to medium. Roast, turning them often, until the skins on the chiles are charred on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Step 3: Remove from heat to a bowl; cover with a towel and let stand until cool enough to handle.

Step 4: Gently slip the charred skin off the chiles. Split chiles open, remove the core and seeds. Roughly chop the chiles. Refrigerate covered up to 1 week, or freeze up to several months.

For the burgers:

Step 1: Soak 1 cup mesquite or hickory wood chips in water to cover for at least 30 minutes.

Step 2: In a medium bowl, combine 1 pound ground meat, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin. Use clean hands to mix gently to distribute all ingredients well. Shape into 3 burgers about 4 inches in diameter and 1/2-inch thick. Refrigerate on a plate while you prepare the grill and garnishes.

Step 3: Heat a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 large red onion (sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds, separated into rings). Cook, stirring until onion is nicely browned but still crisp, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Step 4: Heat a gas grill to medium hot. Or, prepare a charcoal grill for direct cooking, and let coals burn until covered with a gray ash. Drain wood chips, and add them to a piece of foil to set on the gas grill, or put them directly on the hot coals if cooking with charcoal.

Step 5: Have ready the cooked onion, 2 roasted and sliced chiles (see directions below), 6 thin slices cheese, 1 medium halved avocado and 3 slices leaf lettuce.

Step 6: Set 3 split brioche burger buns on the grill cut side down and cook to lightly toast them, about 30 seconds. Use a spoon to spread some of the avocado thickly over the toasted bun bottoms. Set aside.

Step 7: Put the burgers onto the grill directly over the heat source. Cover the grill, and cook 5 minutes. Flip the burgers, and cook covered 2 minutes. Top each burger with a portion of the roasted chiles and 2 slices of cheese. Grill covered to melt the cheese, about 1 more minute for medium-rare. Remove burgers to a plate.

Step 8: Put a burger over the avocado on each bun bottom. Top with some onion and lettuce. Put the top bun in place, and serve right away.

Stovetop directions: 

Follow steps 1-6 as above.

Step 7: Heat the oven to 400 F. When the oven is hot, set a nonstick grill pan over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles on contact. Spray the burgers on one side with cooking spray. Place the burgers, sprayed side down on the grill pan. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook without turning until the burgers are golden brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Flip the burgers, and set the pan in the oven. Cook 2 minutes. Top with chiles and cheese, and cook to melt the cheese another 1 or 2 minutes.

Step 8: Put a burger over the avocado on each bun bottom. Top with some onion and lettuce. Put the top bun in place, and serve right away.

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