Chiles Rellenos Burgers with Pineapple-Avocado Salsa

Pairs well with:


Bright and full-bodied, this Zinfandel wine is a curious contradiction in tastes.


Pineapple-Avocado Salsa:
1 small ripe pineapple
2 ripe California avocados
Chiles Rellenos Stuffing:
2 1/2 cups queso blanco, crumbled
2/3 cup walnut pieces
2/3 cup raisins
Chiles Rellenos:
6 wide poblanos chiles (approximately 4 inches in length)
Wooden toothpicks (optional)
1 cup blue corn flour (substitute yellow, if blue is unavailable)
1 heaping tablespoon Mexican herb and spice seasoning mix (containing traditional Mexican spices, such as cayenne pepper, cumin, garlic, paprika, white pepper, thyme, onion and salt)
 1/4 cup pulverized KETTLETM ROASTED RED PEPPER WITH GOAT CHEESE CHIPS (if unavailable, substitute 1/4 cup KETTLETM LIGHTLY SALTED CHIPS, plus 1 teaspoon Mexican herb and spice seasoning mix)
3 raw uncracked eggs, chilled in a medium bowl
Vegetable oil to fill a large skillet to a depth of 1 1/2 inches
2 teaspoons Mexican seasoning mix to sprinkle on chiles rellenos after cooking
1 garlic bulb
2 pounds coarsely ground fresh chuck
2/3 cup crushed KETTLETM ROASTED RED PEPPER WITH GOAT CHEESE CHIPS (if unavailable, substitute 2/3 cup KETTLETM LIGHTLY SALTED CHIPS, plus 1 tablespoon Mexican herb and spice seasoning mix)
1/4 cup Sutter Home Zinfandel
2 tablespoons Mexican herb and spice seasoning mix
Vegetable oil, for brushing the grill rack
1/2 cup pineapple juice (above), for glazing the patties during grilling
6 large pumpkin or sesame seed buns
2 cups crumbled queso blanco, to sprinkle on the buns



Advance Preparation: Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. To roast the garlic, slice the top quarter off the garlic bulb and place it, cut-side up, on a double sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil large enough to enclose the bulb. To protect the garlic from scorching, crumple a second piece of foil and place it under the wrapped bulb. Set the garlic to the side of the grill, over indirect heat. Roast for about 45 minutes, checking periodically to make sure the foil does not scorch, then remove the garlic from the grill and allow it to cool in the foil until ready for use. To roast the chiles, place the chiles on the grill over direct heat. Using tongs, turn the chiles approximately every 3 minutes to char the skin, taking care not to burn the inner flesh. When the skin has blackened, place the chiles in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow the chiles to sweat for twenty minutes to steam the skin loose. Meanwhile, prepare the salsa. Directions: To make the salsa, set the pineapple on a rimmed platter or in a non-metallic baking dish to conserve the juice when cutting. Peel the pineapple, core, and slice into 3/8 inch rings. Halve the rings and transfer to a non-metallic bowl. Refrigerate until serving. Halve the avocados; remove the pits; peel and cut into thin slices. Transfer the avocado slices to a small, non-metallic bowl. Pour the pineapple juice over the avocado slices. Refrigerate until serving. To make the chiles rellenos stuffing, place the queso blanco, walnut pieces, raisins, and seasoning mix in a non-metallic bowl and mash the ingredients together. Set aside. When the chiles are cool enough to handle, carefully rub-off as much skin as possible. Insert a sharp knife into each chile, just below the calyx (the base of the flower around the stem), and slit the chile about halfway down. Make a small “t” below the calyx and cut-out the core and seeds without tearing the flesh. Leave the stems intact. Stuff the chiles with the queso blanco, walnut pieces, and raisins, but don’t over-stuff. With the tip of a sharp knife or with scissors, carefully remove the stems from the chiles, leaving as small a hole as possible. (Later, the batter will seal the hole.) Gently, pinch the cut edges of the chiles together to seal or, if desired, secure with wooden toothpicks. Set the stuffed chiles aside. Place a deep, fire-proof skillet on the grill rack over medium-high heat and pour in the oil. Fill no more than half the depth of the skillet with oil. (If necessary, chiles may be cooked in batches.) Assemble a large slotted spoon and a large plate or a baking sheet covered with multiple layers of paper toweling on which to drain the cooked chiles. While the oil is heating, prepare the chiles rellenos batter. To make the chiles rellenos batter, combine the corn flour, Mexican seasoning mix and chips in a bowl. Transfer half of the dry mixture to a plate. Crack the eggs into the chilled bowl and whisk. Dip one chile at a time into the eggs, taking care to keep the sealed edges of the chile intact. Using a large, slotted spoon, transfer the chile from the beaten egg to the floured plate. Sprinkle the dry mixture in the bowl over the chile to coat it evenly on all sides, then transfer the chile to a clean plate. Test the oil with a drop of the egg-flour batter. If the drop of batter sizzles and floats to the top, it's the right temperature. If it sinks, the oil is not hot enough. (A deep-fry thermometer, inserted in the oil should register 360 degrees F.) Dip the chiles, one at a time, into the hot oil. Fry, turning once, until crisp and golden brown (about 3 minutes on each side). Remove the chiles from the oil with a clean, dry, slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle the 2 teaspoons of Mexican seasoning mix on the chiles. Remove toothpicks, if necessary. Remove the skillet from the grill. To make the patties, squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from the bulb, and with the back of a knife, mash the cloves into a paste. In a large bowl, combine the garlic paste, chuck, chips, Zinfandel and Mexican seasoning. Handling the mixture as little as possible, mix to distribute the flavors. Form 6 patties of equal width and thickness. (Do not round the tops of the patties.) The diameter of the uncooked patty should exceed the diameter of a bun by 1/2 inch. Brush the hot grill rack with oil and place the patties directly over the heat source. After two minutes, brush the top of the patties with the reserved pineapple juice. (If necessary, to prevent flare-ups when glazing, offset the patties from the direct heat source after the first 2 minutes on each side.) Turn once, until done to preference, approximately 5 to 6 minutes on each side for medium, or upon reaching an internal temperature of 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the side or the center of the patty. While the patties are cooking, remove the pineapple and avocado from the refrigerator and drain well. When the patties are almost done, place the bun bottoms, cut side down, slightly off to the side of the grill rack. When the bun bottoms are lightly toasted, flip them over, sprinkle half of the remaining queso blanco on the cut side of the bun bottoms and close the grill lid to soften the cheese. After one minute, open the grill, sprinkle the remaining queso blanco on the patties and place the bun tops, cut side down, on the outer edge of the grill rack to toast lightly. Transfer the bun bottoms to a baking sheet or a large platter. To assemble the burgers, on the cut side of the bun bottoms, arrange a single layer of pineapple slices followed by a layer of avocado slices. When the cheese on the patties has melted, remove the patties from the grill and place on top of the avocado slices. Place the chile rellenos on the patties. Top the chile rellenos with a layer of avocado slices, followed by a layer of pineapple slices and a hot bun top. Serve immediately. Makes 6 burgers