The seasoning paste, made with dried poblanos that are called anchos, is easy to pull together and works wonderfully with the rich mix of ground meat. To dry your own for this recipe (not exactly cost-effective), see the NOTE below. The burgers can be cooked in a cast-iron skillet instead of on the grill.
Make Ahead: The hamburger meat can be seasoned, covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day in advance. The aioli can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
Servings: 8 - 10
- For the burgers
- 4 dried ancho chilies (2 ounces total) rinsed, stemmed and seeded (see NOTE)
- 1 cup coarsely chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 1 1/2 pounds ground veal (may substitute ground meat of your choice; try equal amounts of pork, veal and beef)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- Mexican Manchego or Monterey Jack cheese slices (optional)
- Hamburger buns, for serving
- For the aioli
- 1 cup regular or low-fat mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon finely grated zest and 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
For the burgers: Prepare the grill for direct heat. If using a gas grill, preheat to medium-high (450 degrees). If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal; when the coals are ready, distribute them evenly over the cooking area. For a medium-hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for 4 or 5 seconds. Use cooking oil spray to grease the grill grate and place on the grill. Have ready a spray water bottle for taming any flames.
Place the dried chilies in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a blender, then add 2 tablespoons of the soaking liquid (discarding the rest), the onion and garlic. Puree until smooth.
Combine the ground beef and veal in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the chili puree, eggs, salt and pepper. Use your hands to shape the meat into 8 to 10 large patties.
Arrange the patties on the grill; cook uncovered for 5 minutes per side (medium-well).
Meanwhile, make the aioli: Whisk together the mayonnaise, lime zest and juice and garlic in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The yield is about 1 cup. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Place a slice of cheese, if using, on each hamburger a few minutes before the second sides are done. Transfer to buns for serving, along with the lime aioli.
NOTE: Anchos are dried poblanos. To dry poblanos (and other peppers), choose peppers at their peak -- free of decay, mold and bruises. Rinse and dry.
There are three ways to dry them; after they're dried, pack the ancho chilies in zip-top bags or airtight containers:
1. Lay them in direct sun for 6 to 10 hours on woven mats or another platform that allows air to circulate underneath. Cover when the sun sets. Repeat each day for 3 more days.
2. Thread clean fishing line through the stem of one poblano, leaving at least a knot's worth of space before threading the next one. Hang in a dry room with good air circulation for about 3 weeks, until the peppers are dry yet pliable.
3. Preheat the oven to the lowest temperature. Arrange the poblanos on baking sheets. Dry in the oven for 10 to 12 hours, leaving the oven door slightly ajar, turning the peppers every few hours, until dry yet pliable. Cool completely before storing.
Adapted from "Pati's Mexican Table: The Secrets of Real Mexican Home Cooking," by Pati Jinich (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013).
Tested by Jim Webster .
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