Grilled Pork and Chorizo Burgers

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This burger recipe is one of Food 52’s most searched recipes, and I knew I had to try it with our delicious Lepp’s Pork and fresh Chorizo. Making this recipe is a labour of love, as there are more steps than usually associated with a burger, but the reward is a burger and sauce combination that makes a bold flavour combination unlike anything I’ve ever tried. Most burgers get their flavour from all the fixings you add to the bun, but this recipe incorporates most of the flavour into the patty itself.

Romesco is a Spanish sauce that might be new to you, but is so rich, creamy, and delicious that it’s hard to believe there’s only healthy ingredients in it!  

Ingredients

For the burger:

1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds (you can use 1 tsp. of ground cumin but the flavour is so much better if you use freshly ground)
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling
1/2 cup finely diced shallots
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced on the bias, seeds and membranes removed
2 pounds Lepp’s ground pork
1 Lepp’s fresh chorizo sausage, casing removed (about 1/4 lb.)
3 ounces Lepp’s double-smoked bacon, finely diced, or pulse a few times in your food processor
2 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
6 slices Swiss or Manchego cheese
6 Lepp’s brioche buns or other good burger buns
Romesco (recipe follows)
2 ounces arugula, spinach or romaine lettuce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Romesco Sauce:

1 1-inch thick slice of crusty bread, crust removed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large tomato
5 cloves garlic
1/2 cup whole almonds
2 medium red bell peppers
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Method

Romesco Sauce:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Place almond, garlic, bread and tomato on baking sheet and place in the oven. Roast almonds until fragrant and bread is crusty and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Remove almonds and bread and continue roasting garlic until soft and tomato until tender, about 20 minutes more. Remove from oven, let cool slightly and remove skin from tomato and peel garlic.

While other ingredients are roasting in the oven, roast peppers over an open flame on a gas stove or grill until the skins are blackened. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let sit until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes. Remove charred skin, seeds, and cores.

Place bread, tomato, almonds, peppers, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Purée until smooth. Taste and season with additional salt and cayenne pepper as needed.

Place in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator until cool. Store refrigerated up to 5 days.

For the burger:

In a medium sauté pan, toast the cumin seeds over medium heat a few minutes until the seeds release their aroma and darken slightly. Pound the seeds in a mortar or spice grinder until coarsely ground.

Return the pan to the stove over high heat for 1 minutes. Add the olive oil and shallots. Turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook for a few minutes, stirring, once or twice, until the shallots start to soften. Add the garlic, thyme, cumin and sliced jalapenos. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grindings of black pepper, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until the shallots become translucent. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, use your hands to combine the ground pork, chorizo, bacon, shallot mixture, and parsley, being careful not to overmix the meat. Season with 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Shape the meat into six 6-ounce patties. Chill in the refrigerator if not using right away. Allow the patties to come to room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling.  

Preheat your grill to medium heat. Brush the pork burgers with olive oil and grill them 5 minutes on the first side, until they’re nicely browned. Turn the burgers over, and place a piece of cheese on each one. Cook another 4-6 minutes or so, until the pork is cooked through. It should still be slightly pink in the center, the bacon and chorizo will also make it look pink even once it’s cooked. Use a meat thermometer if you’re unsure, you want it to register 160 degrees in the center.

Slice the buns in half, brush them with olive oil, and toast them on the grill, cut side down, for a minute or so, until they’re lightly browned.

Spread both sides of the buns with mayonnaise. Place a burger on the bottom half of each bun, and dollop with a generous amount of romesco. Place some arugula leaves on top, and finish with the top half of the bun.