Miami “Frita” Chicken-Chorizo Burgers

Accolades 2009 Finalists
Serves 6
Pairs well with:

Sauvignon Blanc

With hints of passion fruit, melon, and citrus, this wine beckons you to kick back and find a perfect porch swing.

Believe me, this burger is delicioso! In Miami’s Calle Ocho (8th Street), a wonderfully sweet, savory burger called a “frita” is made several hundred times a day. Fritas are quite simple…ground meat, a little ketchup, freshly fried shoestring potatoes, and a traditional hamburger bun. Personally, I love fritas, and since they are only slightly larger than a slider, one can certainly eat more than one in just in one sitting!

To create this burger, I started with the concept of a frita and added a perfect balance of ingredients typically found in Cuban cuisine. This Cuban rendition of a burger captures the essence of my hometown. With its sultry, sweet, smoky, and spicy flavors, this burger incorporates the Cuban side of Miami. I elected to use chicken for my burger, as the milder flavor of chicken allows all the other flavors to come through. At first bite, there is a slight crunchiness from the freshly made shoestring potatoes. The hint of smokiness in this burger comes from the smoked paprika. While the chorizo also adds to the smokiness of the burger, its saltiness enhances the chicken flavor. The black bean and pimiento relish adds a little tanginess and heat, and the guava ketchup contributes to the sweetness. After your last bite of this burger, I recommend a small shot of cafecito (Cuban-style espresso) and you’re ready for a balmy, tropical Miami night!


Guava Ketchup

1/3 cup ketchup

8 ounce guava paste, chopped into small pieces

1/2 cup water

3 tablepoons white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


Black Bean and Sweet Pimiento Relish

1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup chopped jarred flame-roasted sweet pimiento peppers

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes


Chicken Patties

2 pounds ground chicken

2/3 cup ground chorizo

1/2 cup cracker meal

2 tablespoons smoked paprika

2 large garlic cloves, pressed

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon Cholula hot sauce

1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes

1 teaspoon McCormick Cocoa Chile Blend

1 teaspoon kosher salt


Crispy Shoestring Fries

2 large potatoes

Vegetable oil for frying

1/4 teaspoon salt


Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack

6 Cuban bread rolls, split and a small portion of the roll tops hollowed out to create an indentation

6 iceberg lettuce leaves


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make the ketchup, heat a saucepan on the grill rack or side burner (if available). Once the pan is hot, add all the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, stirring often, until the mixture is smooth, about 10 minutes. Cover and set aside.

To make the relish, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and toss until well combined. Set aside.

To make the patties, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Form the mixture into 6 equal portions to fit the rolls. Cover and refrigerate until ready to grill.

To make the fries, pour oil to a depth of 1 inch in a large fireproof pot and heat on high on the grill rack or side burner (if available). Using a fine to medium-size grater, grate the potatoes. Pat dry with a paper towel, making sure the potatoes are as dry as possible. Prepare a paper-lined plate to drain the potatoes once fried. When the oil is hot, cook the potatoes until golden brown. Drain on the prepared plate and sprinkle with the salt. Keep warm.

Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until the juices run clear, 5 to 6 minutes on each side. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, arrange the buns, cut side down, around the edges of the grill rack to toast lightly.

To assemble the burgers, spread 1 generous tablespoon of the ketchup on the cut sides of the bun tops and bottoms. Place the lettuce on the roll bottoms, top with the patties, and then equal portions of the fries. Spoon the relish into the indention of the roll tops. Add the roll tops and serve.