Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Firecracker Jalapeno Burgers

Mr. Kim Chee is a big fan of all things hot and spicy. Whenever we go out to eat and I see a burger with peppers, jalapenos, wasabi, or any other kind of spicy thing, there's a pretty big chance he'll order it. I'm not as enamored with heat as he is, but I do love a good burger and am always looking at new ways to dress up ground beef! These jalapeno burgers are spicy enough to suit the iron-tongued person in your life, but are mild enough for the average person to enjoy too.

I used a pound of ground beef; they were pre-formed into patties but I broke them up and mixed the ingredients in with the beef. You could just as easily stuff the patties with the filling.

The heat in these burgers comes from pepperjack cheese and a fresh jalapeno.

I used two slices of presliced cheese. First I cut them into strips.

Then I cubed them, so they were in little pieces.

Next was the jalapeno. I ended up using about half a good-sized jalapeno, and that was perfect; you could most definitely use more, without the jalapeno taking over the overall taste of the burger.

If I'm not using the whole jalapeno, I usually cut the bottom part of the pepper off. I guess I feel like keeping the jalapeno as whole as possible keeps it fresh longer--it also allows me to store the remainder of the pepper with other ingredients, like bell pepper or onion, without worrying that the hotness will rub off on the other veggie. Then I cut the bottom part in half, and scrape out the seeds and membrane, and dice the pepper very finely.

The cheese and jalapenos get thrown in with the ground beef.

For a little more flavor, I added some smoked paprika. Chili powder or Cajun seasoning would be nice additions too, if you have them.

Garlic and onion powders gave some more flavor without adding more wet ingredients (I imagine it would be kind of difficult to keep these in patty form if minced onion and garlic were added.)

And always remember to season your meat with salt and pepper!

To add some moisture (and a little more flavor), I poured in some Worcestershire sauce. I love Worcestershire sauce.

Gently mix the ingredients and form into patties.

Send your significant other out to the grill with these, and start on the real heat--fried jalapenos!

I used jarred jalapenos for these. I saw a recipe that used fresh jalapenos, but I imagine those would be pretty spicy!

The batter for the jalapenos consists of two bowls--a wet bowl and a dry bowl.

The first bowl we'll put together is the dry bowl. It starts with flour.

For texture, I added cornmeal.

Season with salt and pepper.

Garlic powder will add a little accent flavor.

Finally, chili powder will add a smokiness to the batter.

Mix the bowl ingredients together and then get started on your second bowl.

This bowl also starts with flour and cornmeal, although with a slightly different ratio. Buttermilk will turn this bowl into a thick, wet mixture that will stick to your jalapenos. I'll spare you more pictures of white-on-white ingredients and get down to it.

Drain the jalapenos and throw 'em right into the wet mixture.

Then toss them into the dry. Make sure they're well coated.

Caaaarefully drop the breaded jalapeno slices into hot oil (my burner was set a little higher than medium heat.)

Fry until golden brown. Let your fried slices drain on paper towel or newspaper; season with salt if desired.

This batter is great for anything you might want to fry--I picked up some green tomatoes at the market and I sliced them up and tossed them in to fry. If you like fried pickles, whole jalapenos, or any other condiment, I say go for it!

By this time, your burgers should be hot off the grill. I meant to melt a slice of pepperjack cheese over the top, but forgot to send Mr. Kim Chee out with the cheese. If you remember, go for it! Pile everything together and enjoy the tingling sensation that only a jalapeno can give!

Recipe: Firecracker Jalapeno Burgers

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 fresh jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 slices pepperjack cheese
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
pepperjack cheese

Jalapeno Slices:
Bowl 1:
1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. cornmeal
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Bowl 2:
1/4 c. flour
3 tbsp. cornmeal
salt and pepper, to taste
1 c. buttermilk

pickled jalapenos (the batter recipe should be enough for at least half a large jar)

oil, for frying

Combine all burger ingredients in a bowl. Mix gently and shape into patties. Grill over medium-high heat until cooked to desired doneness.

Bowl 1: Combine all ingredients. Mix well.

Bowl 2: Combine all ingredients. Mix well.

Heat oil over medium heat (about 375F).

Dip jalapenos into bowl 2; coat well. Move to bowl 1; coat well. Carefully drop breaded jalapenos into hot oil; fry for 5-8 minutes until golden brown. Drain on paper towels or newspaper.

Top burgers with jalapeno slices. Serve!

Just a note: Due to vacation that includes little to no Internet access, Kim Chee Casserole will also be on vacation. The blog will be back up and running on Wednesday, July 6. Happy 4th of July everyone!

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