Calle Ocho Burger with Guava Glaze
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Pinch ground cumin
1 cup guava paste, chopped (available in Latin supermarkets–can substitute puree or jam)
1 cup water
1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
Crispy Smoked Ham:
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 ounces thinly sliced smoked ham (from a deli), julienned
1/4 cup canned black beans, drained
3 tablespoons sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
2 tablespoons beef broth
1 clove garlic
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds ground chuck
Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 bun-sized pieces Cuban bread, split (can substitute Italian bread or French bread)
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
6 ounces Manchego cheese, grated
2 cups lightly broken packaged plantain chips
6 leaves green leaf lettuce
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
To make Guava Glaze, heat oil in a small fireproof saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cumin and cook for 1 minute. Add guava paste, water, and vinegar. Reduce until thickened. Remove from heat. Reserve 1/2 of the Guava Glaze for spreading on the buns later.
To make Crispy Smoked Ham, heat oil in a large fireproof skillet over medium high heat. Add ham and cook until crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Place on paper towels to drain.
To make the patties, in the bowl of a food processor combine black beans, coconut, beef broth, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper; puree. In a large mixing bowl, combine black bean puree and beef. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the bread.
Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Brush the cut sides of the bread with butter. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, just until done, about 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Every minute or two during the cooking of the burgers, brush the burgers with some of the Guava Glaze. During the last few minutes of cooking, top the burgers with equal amounts of cheese and place the bread, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.
To assemble the burgers, spread some of the reserved Guava Glaze on the cut side of the bread. On each bread bottom, place an equal amount of plantain chips, a patty, Crispy Smoked Ham, and lettuce. Add bread tops.
Makes 6 burgers.