Cooking Cove: America’s burgers – a melting pot of flavors

Cooking Cove: America’s burgers – a melting pot of flavors

Latin-Inspired Burgers

By Barbara Beltrami

Is there any food as All-American as the hamburger? I doubt it. Ground beef, a good shot of ketchup, maybe a slice of cheese or a couple of strips of bacon and that’s it. But with the American population now comprised of so many ethnic groups, we are no longer just a simple burger on a soft white bun, as it were. 

We are Afro-American and Asian and Latino and Middle Eastern among many others and bring our colorful cultures and favorite foods to the grill and the table. And the men and women who so faithfully serve and have sacrificed their lives for our country are also from those cultures. So let’s take time from the Memorial Day sales, the first forays to the beach and the barbecues with families and friends to remember that. Here are four hamburger variations I’ve concocted that will help us keep it in mind. 

Middle Eastern-Inspired Burgers

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound ground beef or lamb

2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

1 tablespoon finely chopped mint

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Salt and black pepper to taste

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup hummus

¼ cup chopped black olives

1 medium tomato, cut into 4 slices

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

4 hamburger buns

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat grill on high setting. In medium bowl combine ground meat, onion, mint, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and pepper and cumin. Form into 4 patties; poke hole in center of each patty, insert feta, then press meat mixture over it so feta is in middle of patty. Grill 3 to 5 minutes per side, depending on desired doneness. Drizzle olive oil on one half of each bun, then spread with hummus; place burger on top, then olives, tomato and yogurt. Serve with couscous and cucumber salad.

Afro-American-Inspired Burgers

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound ground beef

1 cup barbecue sauce

1 cup chopped onions

1 cup corn kernels

Salt and black pepper to taste

1 cup chopped cooked greens

1 cup chopped cooked okra

1 cup chopped tomatoes

8 strips cooked bacon, crumbled

4 hamburger buns

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat grill to high setting. In medium bowl, combine beef with half the barbecue sauce and all the onions and corn. Form into 4 patties; season with salt and pepper. Grill, basting with remaining barbecue sauce, 3 to 5 minutes per side, depending on desired doneness. Place on buns, and top with greens, okra, tomatoes and bacon. Serve with sweet potato fries and cole slaw. 

Latin-Inspired Burgers

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound ground beef

4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 small tomato, finely chopped

1 teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon chili powder

Salt to taste

4 hamburger buns

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat grill on high setting. In medium bowl, combine first 7 ingredients; divide mixture into 4 patties. Grill 3 to 5 minutes each side depending on desired doneness. Place on buns with choice of cheese, lettuce and a slice of tomato. Serve with bean salad, salsa, guacamole, corn chips and ice cold beer.

Asian-Inspired Burgers

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound ground beef

½ cup finely chopped green pepper

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon grated ginger root

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Garlic salt to taste

½ cup wasabi mayonnaise

2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

½ cup chopped scallion

4 hamburger buns

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat grill to high setting. In a medium bowl, combine beef, green pepper, hoisin and Sriracha sauces, sesame oil, ginger and red pepper flakes. Mix thoroughly and form into 4 patties; sprinkle with garlic salt and grill 3 to 5 minutes per side depending on desired doneness. Spread wasabi mayonnaise on one half of each bun; top with beef patty, then lettuce and scallions. Serve with cold rice or noodle salad.

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