Burgers En Nogadas
When I studied in Puebla Mexico for a college semester my host mom made outstanding meals every day. The dish I remember most was Chiles En Nogadas. Alba picked fruits and fresh nuts at the peak of ripeness and mixed them with ground pork and a dozen other mysteriously harmonious ingredients. She grilled, stuffed, and fried the peppers, ladled a creamy walnut sauce over top, and finished each dish with a sprinkle of ruby red pomegranate seeds. It blew my mind, and I decided to re-interpret the dish in burger form. I kept the almonds, apples and onions together with pork in the patty. I created a smoky sweet glaze with flavors of peach, tomato, smoked pepper from Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce, and the harmonizing notes of Sutter Home Chardonnay, which mirrors the fruit flavors and stands up to the grilled pork. I didn’t mess with the traditional walnut sauce, but I incorporated the pomegranate seeds into a fruity, ruby guacamole. The end result would, I think, make Alba happy.
2 cups Sutter Home California Chardonnay
Â¼ cup peach preserves
2 teaspoons Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Walnut Sauce (Nogada)
1 Â½ cup sour cream
3/4 cup walnut halves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 ripe California avocados, cut into Â½ inch cubes (about 1 Â½ cups)
Â½ cups pomegranate seeds
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon minced red onion
Â¼ teaspoon salt
2 pounds ground pork
Â¾ cup grated apple
Â¾ cup sliced almonds
Â¾ cup grated sweet onion
3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons salt
vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 burger buns, split
3 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
In a medium, tall-rimmed saucepan bring Chardonnay to a boil and simmer until reduced to Â¼ cup. Add remaining glaze ingredients and whisk together. Remove from heat and keep covered until ready to use.
In a food processor, pulse ingredients for walnut sauce together several times until walnuts are broken into pieces no larger than a pea. Remove, cover, and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
In a medium bowl, combine guacamole ingredients and mix together to incorporate. Avocado should remain chunky. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
In a large bowl, combine patty ingredients and mix with gloved hands until the ingredients are just incorporated. Form mixture into 6 equal-sized patties, and hold on a baking sheet.
When grill is ready, brush grates with oil. Place burgers on the grill, avoiding areas with direct flames. Cover grill and cook for 4 minutes. Flip burger and baste cooked side with glaze. Cover grill and cook for 4 more minutes. Flip burgers and baste top side again. Cook for and additional minute. Repeat flipping and basting 1 more time, so that each side has been basted twice. During the last minutes of cooking, lightly grill cut sides of burger buns on a low-heat area of the grill. When burgers are cooked to desired doneness, place them on a grate over a baking tray and turn off grill.
To assemble burgers, place equal portion of walnut sauce and Â½ cup lettuce on the bottoms of each burger bun. Top with a patty and equal portions of guacamole. Add bun tops and serve.