The leaves may be piling up around the grill but it’s not time to cover it up for the season. Sweep them aside and try grilling up a twist on the ever-popular burger staple you made all summer. This is one of cookbook author Bruce Aidells’ favorites. He likes this burger because it captures the delights of Spanish cooking, in particular the flavors of chorizo, which is often used in dishes such as paella, stews or soups, says Aidells, who adapted this recipe for Real Food from his book The Great Meat Cookbook with Anne-Marie Ramo. Because it can be difficult to find real Spanish chorizo in the United States, he added some of the chorizo ingredients—pimentón de la vera (Spanish smoky paprika), garlic, piquillo peppers (intense Spanish pimientos) and cinnamon—to fresh ground pork to yield a delicious profile. It’s topped with a young Spanish Manchego cheese, which is milder. If you can’t find that, you could use Asiago.
Spanish-Style Pork Burgers with Saffron-Pimiento Mayonnaise
Makes 4 Burgers
2 tablespoons diced piquillo pepper or pimiento
1⁄2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
pinch Spanish saffron
11⁄2 pounds 80% lean ground pork
1⁄4 cup finely diced piquillo pepper or pimiento
11⁄2 tablespoons pimentón de la vera or mild Hungarian paprika
1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup shredded Manchego cheese
4 large French rolls, split and toasted
1 heirloom tomato, thinly sliced
8 small hearts of romaine lettuce leaves
1. For the mayonnaise: Stir together all ingredients until well-blended. Will keep up to 1 week covered in refrigerator.
2. Drop ground pork into a mixing bowl. Add piquillos, paprika, cinnamon, sugar, garlic, salt and pepper. Using your hands, gently blend until just mixed (don’t overmix). Form into 4 1-inch-thick burgers roughly the size of the rolls. Set aside. (You can make these ahead and refrigerate up to 4 hours.)
3. To cook, grill over medium hot coals 4 minutes. Flip and grill 3 minutes. Cover burgers with cheese, cover grill, and cook 1 minute more, until cheese begins to melt. Remove from grill.
4. Slather inside faces of rolls with mayonnaise. Place burger on bottom half of bun, then top with tomato and lettuce. Cover with top half of bun and serve.
Nutrition info Spanish-Style Pork Burgers with Mayonnaise (Per Serving): Calories 864 (476 from fat); Fat 54g (Sat. 17g); Chol 152mg; Sodium 1578mg; Carb 45g; Fiber 4g; Protein 51g