BIG BEET & BEEF BURGERS WITH ROASTED RED BELL PEPPER SAUCE
A trip to the local farmer’s market, where I purchased ruby-red beets, inspired this recipe. I love their earthy flavor and the way the taste blends with other vegetables, including grilled Vidalia onion, garden-fresh tomatoes, and avocado, as well as my favorite roasted red bell pepper sauce.This is a big burger, and I guarantee that you’ll savor every bite.
Special equipment to have on hand:
1 (about 6-by-12-inch) brown paper bag
2 (about 12-inch) pieces heavy-duty aluminum foil
long (about 4-inch) bamboo or wooden sandwich picks
To roast the red bell peppers
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and halved (or substitute one 8-ounce jar roasted red bell peppers, drained well)
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
For the burgers
Olive oil cooking spray, as needed
2 (about 2 inches in diameter) red beets, stems removed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Vidalia onion, peeled and cored
1 teaspoon butter
1 beef bouillon cube
1 yam, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
For the roasted red bell pepper sauce
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar
2 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
To complete the recipe
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Olive oil cooking spray, as needed
2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 large avocado, peeled and thinly sliced
6 good-quality, whole-grain hamburger buns (not too dense but not squishy either), split
Sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
To roast the bell peppers, lightly brush both sides of the bell pepper halves with olive oil. Place the bell peppers, skin sides down, on the preheated grill. Cook for 5 minutes per side, turning once with tongs, until the skin is charred and the bell peppers are fork tender. Use tongs to transfer the peppers to a paper bag. Fold the top of the bag and set aside to cool for 10 or 15 minutes. (Omit this step if substituting jarred roasted bell peppers.)
Meanwhile, coat one side of a 12-inch piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray. Place the beets on the foil, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Wrap the foil over the beets.
At the same time, coat another large piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray. Place the onion on the foil. Put the butter and bouillon cube in the center. Wrap the foil over the onion.
Place the beet and onion packets on the grill grate and cook for 20 minutes, or until tender.
At the same time, spray another area of the grill grate with cooking oil spray. Lightly brush the yam slices with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, turning with tongs, for about 10 minutes per side, or until tender. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
When the beets and onion are done, peel back the foil and set aside to cool. Then, use a paring knife to remove the beet skin. Cut the beets into 1/4-inch dice. From the onion, remove and discard any undissolved bouillon cube. Use a serrated knife to cut the onion into thin slices.
When the bell peppers are cool, remove the skin with a paring knife; discard the skin. Transfer the peeled bell peppers (or drained jarred bell peppers) to a blender. Add the remaining bell pepper sauce ingredients and purée until smooth. Cover and set aside at room temperature.
Put the ground chuck into a large bowl. Add the diced beet and parsley. Stir to combine, handling the mixture as little as possible to avoid compacting the meat. For each burger, form the mixture into a flattened 4-inch round patty.
Spray the grill rack with olive oil spray. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium.
Place the buns, cut sides down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly during the last 2 minutes of grilling.
To assemble each burger, spread the cut side of the bottom half of the bun with bell pepper sauce. Top with a hamburger patty, add slices of onion, tomato, and avocado. Drizzle with the sauce. Close the sandwich with the other half of the bun, secure with long sandwich picks, garnish the plates with parsley sprigs, and serve right away.
Makes 6 burgers