Double Cheese Burger with Pink Sauce, Pineapple Sauce, Garlic Sauce, Potato Chips and a bunch of other stuff
We are really globe trotting now! From China to Colombia, a very different vibe and appropriately different flavors. Colombia is located on the North Western coast of South America and borders Panama, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, and Venezuela.
My mental map of South America is terrible, I always pictured Colombia as being more inland, so now I have it placed pretty firmly in the correct location. The Colombian government continues to struggle with violence from rebel groups (although apparently that’s getting better) and to combat the drug trafficking and the cultivation of illegal drugs. The CIA World Factbook says that Colombia is the world’s leading cultivar of coca products, much of which is then sent into the US. They also grow quite a bit of cannabis and opium poppy – nothing like diversification! Fortunately the Colombians also have a richly diverse population and a love of food that will serve our purposes quite well.
This is one of those countries that has a strong burger tradition that we are going to explore. Apparently it is not uncommon to go to a burger restaurant and have 30 or more topping choices. Colombian’s like a messy burger with lots of sauces – thank goodness! This is going to be fun, I promise! There are also lots of burger and hotdog stands in the city and these messy wonders are popular street food – even most street vendors will have a dozen or more toppings to choose from. By all accounts it’s important not to get picky on the toppings – just get everything on the burger and you’ll be happy (and very full).
The other interesting thing that they do with burgers is they have dipping sauces – these are the sauces that are just too liquid and would make your burger a soggy mess if you poured them right on. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a lot of detail on what’s in the dipping sauces, so I made a classic garlic sauce that seemed to fit the tradition and it was perfect with the richness of the burger. I can’t come close to describing how wonderful and messy this burger is – amazingly it transcends the ingredients. The double patties are important to balance the burger and so that you can taste the meat at all – I still used only ¼ pound of meat for each burger because I wanted a really flat thin patty for these burgers. I also highly recommend you use a leaner beef so that you don’t get a lot of shrinkage with cooking.
The sauces by themselves are pretty basic – pink sauce is essentially ketchup and mayonnaise with some additions to spice it up a bit – a couple of descriptions I found included brandy or some other booze in the pink sauce, so never one to miss a chance to use booze, I mixed in some Calvados. Do I think it made a huge difference, no, but it did give a little tang that I liked. The pineapple sauce gave me pause, after the extended pineapple debate we encountered with Australia, I wasn’t sure I was up for more pineapple. Fortunately, most of the sources I found described a pineapple sauce rather than a big slice of pineapple – it added a really nice fruity undertone to the burger. I used fresh pineapple because it’s in season and I was making carrot cake anyway, so I was able to use the whole thing and not waste anything. I also made the sauce with canned pineapple chunks. I expected a big difference in taste – the pineapple itself tastes quite a bit different, but, when you cook it down and add the sugar and lime there was almost no difference in the final flavor (although the fresh pineapple sauce was more yellow while the canned was paler). So use whichever you prefer and it will be good either way.
The Aji sauce (I found this was spelled a number of ways, but this spelling seemed most common), is a classic condiment in Colombia with innumerable recipes. Some include tomato, some are thick, some are watery – it’s the Colombian equivalent of piri piri or chimichurri – everyone uses it and every family has a secret recipe. I made mine more paste-like for fear of drowning my poor burger. It adds a nice herbaceous note that helps balance all the rich sauces.
I have a feeling some of you may comment on my cheese choice and to all of you I say, comment away! I chose manchego cheese because, A) I like it, B) it’s got a nice tart flavor that I thought would hold up to all of the crazy flavors in this burger (I was right). I know, it’s Mexican but I couldn’t find any Colombian cheeses or good descriptions of what Colombian cheeses taste like (I did find two references to American cheese being used, but I decided to ignore those because, well, yuck).
It is critical that you get a nice soft bun for this burger – the standard American hamburger bun that you get at the grocery store is perfect. For those without access to American supermarkets, a brioche roll or other soft roll would work well. I also chose to use a thicker wavy potato chip vs. the classic thin chip. I wanted to make sure the chips stayed crispy and the thicker wavy chip worked well. I was surprised how much crunch they added which kept the burger from feeling soggy and too wet.
This is a crave worthy burger, it’s messy, an amazingly tasty – it’s made me rethink my love for the Big Mac, this is a far more worthy burger, I hope you think so too. Everyone in the family loved this – my father was relieved to have something a little less exotic for a change and my husband insisted on eating the photograph version of the burger the next day for lunch. Bring lots of napkins and enjoy!
(by the way, you can make all of the sauces ahead of time and just cook the burgers last minute and assemble which makes this really easy to make for the family, the burgers cook fast too!)
1 pound ground beef (90% lean)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
4 ounces manchego cheese sliced
4 soft burger buns
Aji Sauce (recipe below)
Pineapple Sauce (recipe below)
1 large tomato sliced thin
1 onion sliced thin
Pink Sauce (recipe below)
Wavy Lays or other thick potato chip (pounded into coarse crumbs)
Garlic Sauce for dipping (recipe below)
Mix ground beef with salt, pepper and onion powder. Separate into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball and flatten into as thin a patty as you can (max ¼ inch). In a large non-stick pan, fry the first 4 patties until cooked through. Put them on a platter and cover with foil. Cook the other four patties adding the cheese after you turn them and cover to melt the cheese. These patties cook really quickly so while your cooking them, if you have a helper, have them butter and grill the buns and get all of the other ingredients lined up.
To assemble the burgers, I’m not sure order is critical, but here’s how I did it…
I also soaked the sliced onion in ice water for about ten minutes to take some of the sting out – this is up to you and your tastes.
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
4 jalapenos chopped
1 Tablespoon water
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
½ cup chopped green onions
¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped
¼ cup Italian parsley chopped
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Combine all ingredients in a small food processor and pulse until everything is uniformly chopped. Refrigerate until ready to use.
in a small sauce pan, combine pineapple juice, lime juice and sugar, stir and heat through. In a small bowl, combine the water and cornstarch and stir until there are no lumps. Add the cornstarch mixture to the juice mixture slowly, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil and continue cooking until thick (2-3 minutes). Remove from heat and cool to room temperature before using. Refrigerate until ready to use
Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
Whisk first two ingredients then slowly add the olive oil, whisking constantly. Refrigerate until ready to use.
©Copyright 2011 Linda Monach