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Highly Relished Burgers

June 18, 1997|BETTY ROSBOTTOM | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; Rosbottom is a cooking school director and author of "American Favorites" (Chapters Publishing, 1996)

When our son was growing up, he liked to help me prepare our outdoor meals on the grill. He usually suggested grilled steaks or burgers.

Recently, I grilled hamburgers and topped them with roasted red pepper relish and thin slices of sharp white Cheddar cheese. It's a meal I would have loved to have shared with my son.

The relish is what makes these burgers distinctive; it could also be served as a garnish to grilled chicken or steaks.

Corn on the cob or a fresh corn pudding and a mixed green salad in a garlic vinaigrette dressing would make good side dishes for the hamburgers. Strawberry and blueberry shortcakes could conclude the menu.

BURGERS WITH ROASTED RED PEPPER RELISH AND CHEDDAR CHEESE

RELISH

Olive oil

2 large red bell peppers, roasted and diced

1 cup chopped onions

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped parsley, preferably flat leaf

BURGERS

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Scant 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Oil

6 hamburger buns

6 ounces sharp white Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

RELISH

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers and saute, stirring, 1 to 2 minutes. Add onions and garlic. Cook and stir until onions are softened, about 3 minutes.

Combine vinegar and sugar in small bowl, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Stir into onion-pepper mixture; add mustard, cayenne and salt and mix well. Cook, stirring, until all liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. (Note: Relish can be prepared 1 day ahead and refrigerated. Cover and bring to room temperature before using.)

Stir in parsley before using.

BURGERS

Combine ground beef, thyme, salt and pepper. Shape into 6 patties. (Note: Burgers can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Oil rack and place 5 inches from heat source. Grill burgers until pink inside, 3 to 4 minutes per side, or longer for well done. Grill buns just to toast lightly. When burgers are almost done, cover each with some cheese and cook just long enough to melt cheese.

Arrange burgers on buns and top with generous portion of Roasted Red Pepper Relish.

6 servings. Each serving:

520 calories; 1,467 mg sodium; 88 mg cholesterol; 31 grams fat; 33 grams carbohydrates; 28 grams protein; 0.38 gram fiber.

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