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Mole Poblano Burgers with Avocado-Lime Salsa

My husband is the inspiration for this recipe. He is originally from Mexico and is the reason I prepare several Mexican dishes including Mole Poblano, one of his favorites. He also is a big fan of Sutter Home Merlot wine, on which I found an advertisement for this contest. I wanted to make a burger with a Mexican twist and the idea for a mole burger just popped into my head. Just like salsa, there are many types of mole, but we like a dark mole that has a rich, chocolate taste and believe it or not, the chocolate really stands up to the beef. My biggest challange was paring the recipe down to just 16 ingredients. My original mole recipe contains raisins, but I substituted the Sutter Home Merlot for the water and the raisins and it gives the sauce just the right amount of fruitiness. My husband loves this burger and I hope you will too. By the way, it tastes great with a glass of Sutter Home Merlot.


Mole Sauce:
3 ounces dried chile anchos (about 6)
1 clove garlic
1 thick slice red onion
3/4 cup Sutter Home Merlot
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1.5 ounces semi-sweet or milk chocolate
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups chicken broth
Avocado-Lime Salsa:
2 avocados
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
pinch of salt
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 pounds freshly ground chuck
Vegetable oil for the grill
6 sesame seed buns
3 cups shredded lettuce


Prepare the mole sauce by roasting the chiles over a medium heat grill for 4-5 minutes, turning frequently to avoid burning. Put the roasted chiles in a bowl, cover with hot water and soak for 30 minutes. While chiles are soaking, wrap the garlic clove and onion slice in a piece of foil and cook over a medium heat grill, turning occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until contents are soft. Drain the chiles and remove the stems and seeds. Transfer chiles, garlic and onion to a blender. Add the Sutter Home Merlot and blend to make a smooth puree. Place 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large saute or frying pan and heat over a medium heat grill. Add the chile puree and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Add the chocolate, sugar, peanut butter, cinnamon and salt and stir until smooth. Add the chicken broth and return to a simmer. Continue cooking over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove 1/3 cup mole sauce from the pan and reserve for making patties. Set pan aside and cover. Note: sauce should be the same thickness as barbeque sauce - if necessary, thin with a little water. Prepare the Avocado-Lime Salsa by mashing one avocado in a small bowl. Dice the other avocado and add it along with the lime juice, chopped onion and salt to the bowl and stir until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside. Prepare the burgers by mixing the 1/3 cup reserved mole sauce and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt with the ground chuck. Form into 6 equal sized patties, slightly larger than the buns. Brush the grill with vegetable oil and preheat to medium-high heat. Grill the patties for 3-1/2 to 4 minutes per side for a medium done burger. Place cooked patties in the mole sauce. Toast buns, including both sides of the sesame seed tops, until lightly browned. To assemble burgers, remove a beef patty from the mole sauce, making sure it is well coated with sauce, and place on bottom bun. Top beef patty with shredded lettuce. Spread a spoonful of avocado-lime salsa on the inside of the top bun and place over top of burger.