Taqueria Torta Burgers with Sangria Peppers and Mexican Pesto

Pairs well with:


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

One of my favorite dining spots in Philly is a little taqueria that serves the best tortas. These tasty sandwiches range in toppings and fillings but the ultimate has to be carne asada and chorizo. Here is my version of a torta, burger style.


Sangria Peppers:
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ each Yellow Bell Pepper, stem and seeds removed
½ each Red Bell Pepper, stem and seeds removed
½ each Orange Bell Pepper, stem and seeds removed
1 Poblano Pepper, stem and seeds removed
2 Jalapenos, stems and seeds removed
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ cup Spanish Onions, minced
3 tablespoons. Chipotle Peppers in Adobo, minced
¾ cup Sutter Home Zinfandel
3 tablespoons. Triple Sec
1 Lime, juiced
1 teaspoon Salt

Mexican Pesto:
¼ cup Toasted Pepitas
2 cups Fresh Cilantro, washed and trimmed
3 Garlic Cloves
½ teaspoon Salt
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ cup Sour Cream

2 ½ pounds. Ground Beef Chuck
4 ounces Fresh Chorizo, casing removed
1 teaspoon Cumin Powder
1 ½ teaspoon. Salt
1 ½ teaspoons. Cracked Black Pepper

¾ cup Cotija Cheese Crumbles

Oil for brushing the grill
6 Crusty Corn Dusted Kaiser Rolls, split
2 tablespoons. Butter, softened


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
To make the sangria peppers:
In a large bowl, drizzle olive oil over yellow, red, orange, poblano and jalapeno peppers to coat. Grill peppers until tender and skin has charred, about 5-6 minutes, return to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside. In a fire proof skillet heat olive oil and saute onions until tender, around 3 minutes, add chipotle peppers and carefully deglaze the pan with wine, triple sec and lime juice. Season with salt. Bring to a simmer, whisking frequently, and reduce sauce to a thin syrup, around 10 minutes. Remove the charred skin from the peppers and slice into thin strips. Toss the peppers with the sangria syrup and set aside until ready to assemble the burgers.
To make the Mexican Pesto:
In a food processor combine pepitas, cilantro, garlic, salt and olive oil until blended and smooth. Scrape into a bowl and whisk in sour cream, wrap and chill until ready to assemble the burgers.
To make the patties:
In a large bowl mix together ground beef, chorizo, cumin, salt and pepper using a spoon as to not over work the meat. Portion into 6 patties, wrap and keep chilled until ready to grill.
Brush grill grates with oil and grill the burgers 4-5 minutes per side, covered, turning once, for medium. Top burgers with cotija cheese and melt, around 1-2 minutes. Brush the rolls with butter and toast on the grill for 2-3 minutes.
To assemble the burgers:
Spread each side of the rolls with pesto, top with patties and evenly top with peppers before serving.