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Bullfighter Burgers with Andalucia Salsa, Drunken Goat Cheese & Smoked Chorizo

I came up with the idea for this burger when my husband and I visited Seville and the greater Andalusian region of Spain in graduate school. Our favorite city was Ronda, a beautiful city set high on a hill with a breathtaking river gorge know as “El Tajo” and a tremendous history of bullfighting. My husband was set to go back this summer for a Hemmingway conference, but the conference fell on the exact week when our first baby was due and had to skip it. As a result, I felt even more compelled to develop this burger to bring back memories of Spain and capture the great tastes we had there.


(1) 3 large navel oranges
(2) 2/3 cup diced red onion
(3) 1 cup pitted good-quality green olives, coarsely chopped
(4) 1/2 cup chopped (drained) bottled roasted red peppers
(5) 2 and 1/2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
(6) 1 garlic clove, minced
(7) 1/2 teaspoon hot pimenton
(8) salt to taste
(9) 1 and 2/3 pounds ground chuck
(10) 1/2 pound Spanish style (smoked) chorizo sausage, diced small (about 1/4 inch) (2) 1/3 cup grated red onion
(11) 2 and 1/2 teaspoons dried herbes de Provence (use a blend that includes dried lavender) (8) 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt (7) 1 teaspoon hot pimenton (6) 2 cloves garlic, minced
(12) 2/3 cup mayonnaise
(13) 6 tablespoons salted roasted almonds (6) 2 garlic cloves, smashed (4) 1/3 cup chopped (drained) bottled roasted red peppers (5) 1 and 1/2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil for brushing grill rack
(14) 8 ounces drunken goat cheese, grated (Note: use a young/mellow Asiago if drunken goat is unavailable)
(15) 6 good-quality onion roll hamburger buns, split
(16) 3 cups tender watercress sprigs


For salsa: Grate 2 teaspoons zest from the oranges; set zest aside for use in the burgers. Using small sharp knife, cut off remaining peel and white pith from oranges. Working over medium bowl, cut between membranes to release sections. Cut each section crosswise into 4 pieces and add to bowl. Mix in the 2/3 cup diced red onion, green olives, 2 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 minced garlic clove and 1/2 teaspoon pimenton. Season with salt to taste. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside. For burgers: In a large bowl combine the chuck, chorizo, 1/3 cup grated red onion, herbes de Provence, 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pimenton, 2 cloves minced garlic, and reserved 2 teaspoons grated orange zest, handling as little as possible, until combined. Shape into six patties to fit bun size. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside. For romesco: Blend the mayonnaise, almonds, 2 smashed garlic cloves, 1/3 cup roasted red peppers and remaining 1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a small food processor until smooth. Transfer to small bowl and cover until ready to use. Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the burger patties on the grill rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5-6 minutes on each side for medium. Top burgers with grated cheese during last 2 minutes of grilling, closing lid to promote melting. Also place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill rack to toast lightly during last 2 minutes of grilling. To assemble the burgers, generously spread cut sides of buns with romesco. On each bun bottom, place 1/2 cup of the watercress, a cheese-topped patty, and an equal amount of the salsa. Add the bun tops and serve. Makes 6 burgers.


Herbes de Provence may sound out of place in a Spanish burger, but many of the herbs grown in Provence and Andalucia (e.g., lavender, marjoram, thyme, rosemary) are the same. And what better cheese for the Sutter Home burger contest than one of our Spanish favorites, “drunken goat”, which is steeped in red wine.