RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Little Ricky's Rumba Burger

This burger is based on a favorite dish of our Cuban family called "Niño Para la Escuela" which means "Little Boy Going to School". Through the I Love Lucy Show many Americans were first introduced to Cubans via Desi Arnezs depiction of the character Ricky Ricardo. In our interpretation of this classic dish to a burger format, Little Ricky Arnez is the little boy going to school, and taking after his fathers Latin beat he is doing the rumba all the way.


6 large eggs
¼ cup seedless raisins
3 T Sutter Home Proprietor’s Muscat Port
1 T hot water
18 pitted Kalamata olives
2 jarred roasted red peppers
2¼ pounds 80% lean ground chuck
¼ cup tomato paste
Kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 very ripe plantains, starting to blacken in spots, with skin an overall brownish yellow color, no longer green
3 medium shallots
6 cloves garlic
6 T peanut oil, plus more for grill
6 Classic Sandwich buns with Sesame Seeds


Crack one egg into each of six individual cups and return to refrigerator. Chop raisins fine and combine with port and water in small bowl. Set aside at room temperature. Pat dry the olives and roasted red peppers and chop to a fine dice. Place ground chuck in medium bowl. Add chopped olives and peppers to ground chuck along with tomato paste, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Mix very lightly with hands, cover bowl and return to refrigerator. Peel plantains and slice on the bias, approximately 12 slices per plantain. Peel shallots and garlic cloves. Mince and set aside in small bowl. Preheat grill on high with lid closed approximately 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and place 10 in. cast iron skillet (or other fire-proof pan) on grill rack and preheat for 5 minutes. Add 2 T peanut oil to cast iron pan. When oil is heated through add half of plantain slices. Saute 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly golden brown, carefully flipping each slice with heat-proof spatula approximately two to three times to brown evenly. Remove plantains and place on parchment paper lined pan. Salt lightly. Add 2 T peanut oil to pan. Heat oil through and repeat sautéing second half of plantain slices. Remove plantains and place on parchment paper. Salt lightly. Return pan to grill rack over medium heat. Add 1 T of soybean oil to pan, heat through and cook eggs one at a time, cooking egg white until solid and carefully using heat-proof spatula to dribble hot oil over yolk to cook slightly. Do not flip eggs or break yolks as yolks must stay soft for burger assembly. Remove eggs to parchment lined pan, salt lightly. Add 1 T peanut oil before fourth or fifth egg as needed if pan is dry. Leave any remaining oil in pan; add minced shallot and garlic to pan and sauté approximately 4 minutes until just starting to brown. Remove sautéed shallots and garlic from pan and place in small bowl. Add raisin mixture to hot pan. Cook mixture 3 to 4 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove raisin mixture from pan and place in bowl with shallot and garlic mixture. Remove pan from grill and set in safe place to cool. Add sautéed shallot and garlic and raisin mixture to ground chuck mixture and mix lightly. Form into six equal-sized round patties. Brush oil on grill rack. Increase heat to medium high, cover grill for 3 minutes to heat. Place burger patties on grill rack, cook for 4 minutes. Flip patties and cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes until internal temperature reaches 160 deg F. Place cooked patties on a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Reduce heat to medium and place the buns, cut side down, on the grill rack to toast lightly. Assemble burgers by placing 4 plantain slices on bottom of each bun. Top with burger patty. Place one cooked egg on top of each patty. Pierce bottom of yolk with knife and spread yolk over patty. Place top of bun over egg.


In the classic version of this Cuban dish garlic and onions are sauteed and cooked with ground beef and seasoned with chopped olives, raisins, sherry, and tomatoes to make picadillo. The picadillo is served with white rice, a fried egg and fried ripe plantains which we call maduros. A bowl of Cuban black beans is also served on the side. Traditionally the rice is served on the bottom, the picadillo is spooned over it and the plantains and fried egg top it off. Cutting through the soft egg yolk distributes it over the picadillo and rice with each bite containing all of the delicious flavors of each component. The flavors of the port, raisins and olives work very well with beef and the egg and plantain lend moistness and richness to the burger without the need for any additional condiments or sauces. Enjoy!