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Spicy Rizo Chego Burger with Cilantro Relish

This burger was inspired by my love of chorizo and constant effort to use it in creative ways. This challenge was the perfect opportunity to incorporate it into a burger. The tanginess of Manchego has always been a favorite pairing with chorizo but was also well matched with beef. The inspiration for the relish comes from a desire to incorporate the complex heat of serrano peppers without making it too spicy. The combination of the pepper with the bold flavor of cilantro, hints of lime and sweetness of the onion was the perfect match. All of this is complemented with the final addition of avocado to bring a smooth and cool finish to the fully assembled burger. After several rounds of testing this burger has become a new favorite among friends and family.


Cilantro Relish:
2 cups fresh cilantro, large stems removed
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 2
tablespoons Colavita extra virgin olive oil
1 Serrano pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sweet onion, such as Vidalia, finely minced
1/2 pound spicy Mexican chorizo sausage, casings removed
1 1/2 pounds 85% lean ground beef
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chopped fresh epazote (substitute with fresh Oregano) 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Vegetable oil for the grill
6 Kaiser rolls, split
6 slices of Manchego cheese, at room temperature
1 ripe avocado, sliced into 1/4 inch slices


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. For the relish, combine the cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, Serrano pepper and salt in a food processor. Blend until smooth, similar to the texture of pesto. Remove the mixture to a small mixing bowl combine with the onion, set aside. To make the patties, place the chorizo in a medium mixing bowl and break up the sausage with a fork until there are no large chunks. Once the sausage is broken up add the ground beef, egg, cumin, epazote and salt and mix together well, handling the meat as little as possible. Divide meat mixture into 6 equally sized portions and form the portions into patties to fit the rolls. When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. A minute or so before removing patties from the grill, place the Kaiser rolls, cut side down, onto the outer edges of the grill to toast lightly, approximately 30 seconds. Once the rolls are removed, place one slice of the Manchego cheese on each patty and cover grill for approximately 30 seconds to allow cheese to melt. Once the cheese is melted, remove patties from grill. To assemble the burgers spread an equal amount the cilantro relish evenly across the cut side of each roll top. On each roll bottom, place one patty on each roll bottom and top with 2 slices of avocado, then cover with roll top. Serve immediately and enjoy!


Recommended wine pairing: Zinfandel