Blood Orange Chimichurri…Burgers?

This was a sad week.  Our household was struck down by the plague.  Well, a cold.  But a vicious cold.  You know, like one of those snarling, drippy cartoon germs you see in commercials.  It ruined all my weekend plans of…doing nothing.  I mean, sure I still did nothing but I didn’t enjoy it as much.  I missed the beautiful 80-degree day that was Sunday.  I missed two days of work after that.  So did Josh–which is how you know this was a bad cold, because Josh rarely gets sick and even more rarely takes days off because he’s sick.  And sadly, I missed all my good opportunities in the kitchen–there were no baguettes baked, no pretzels dipped in chocolate, nothing.  Oh the humanity!

But yesterday, we were will enough to go back to work.  And the little fish who controls the weather felt accommodating enough to make it sunny and warm, which was most appreciated.  At some point during the day–and I blame Chase for this–the idea of grilling burgers started fluttering around in my head.  Normally, I prefer ideas not flutter around in my brain.  It tickles, for one thing, and the noise is a bit disturbing.  But this idea was so appealing, I let it slide.  After all, I’ve been itching (figuratively, I swear) to get my grill on for weeks now.  Not to mention that grilling is a relatively easy, low-maintenance way to cook dinner and a good way for me to ease back into cooking while I recovered.  Clearly summer was trying to break free from Cold Miser’s grasp.  That made it my duty to embrace it with a good grilled burger, which, let’s be honest, is the epitome of summer itself.

I assume that thought–summer–is what spurred on the desire for chimichurri sauce.  There are certain foods that just make me feel summery.  Burgers, naturally.  Grilled ones.  Chili dogs from Bill’s Hot Dog Stand.  Mojitos.  Agua fresca.  And chimichurri sauce.

I’ve mentioned chimichurri sauce before.  Let’s hop into the Waaaay Back Machine all the way to…oh…last spring and you might remember a little tree-cutting party we had on the property of our then-new-old house.  To thank everyone for helping Josh do some work, I made mojito slushies, baked a big pernil pork roast and served it with a  side of chimichurri sauce, which is basically an Argentinian condiment made from herbs, garlic, olive oil and vinegar.  It’s delicious.  I like to serve it on pork or chicken, as a dipping sauce for chips, on top of soup…and in a good burger.  The second best thing about it–besides it’s deliciousness level, which is very high–is how easy and customizable it is.  It’s kind of one of those “toss in what you have” sort of deals and it makes whatever else you’re serving seem suddenly very exotic.

This is one of those things I don’t really have a recipe for, so just follow my lead and adjust things where you need to:

  • I started with whatever herbs I had on hand going into a blender.  This turned out to be a few sprigs of thyme (leaves only), a couple large sprigs of rosemary (leaves only), some sage and a handful of cilantro.
  • I added in two whole cloves of garlic.
  • Also a good sized pinch of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Because the spice must flow.
  • Then a dash of apple cider vinegar…or regular vinegar or a different kind of vinegar if you have it on hand.
  • Start whirring that up in the blender.
  • Then drizzle in the olive oil.  Now, I made the snap decision here to use the rest of my blood orange olive oil from Old World Olive Press, which was about a quarter of a cup, and then supplement the rest with regular olive oil.  I didn’t think for a minute that it wouldn’t be delicious.  I knew it would.  There’s no way that combination of flavors is going to miss.  What I didn’t think about until after I had blended everything together and drizzled in the oil until the mixture got to a nice consistency and then poured half of it into the raw beef I had sitting in a bowl…was whether or not it would taste weird in a burger.

But it didn’t.  It tasted delicious.  I used a fork to fluff the ground grass-fed beef we were using and incorporate half the chimichurri into the meat.  Now, just a note here, the extra bit of fat from the oil does make the patties a bit less likely to stay together well on the grill, so you may want to include some ground almonds for binding.  I do it in meatballs all the time.  Works out marvelously.  I didn’t do that here though.  I just powered through.  Using an ice cream scoup, I portioned the meat into 4 beautiful chimichurried balls and then flattened them out slightly into patties and grilled them, alongside some beautiful slices of red onion.

The final burger ended up being: slices of grilled red onion, the burgers, melted sharp white cheddar cheese, slices of fresh avocado, more chimichurri sauce and a nice soft bun.  Josh complimented me later on my boldness for making a burger that was like 90% fat.  Well-marbled grass feed beef at like 85%, plus olive oil, plus avocado…it was like fat on top of fat on top of fat.  Meta fat.  But delicious fat.  And heart-healthy ones too, so don’t be afraid to embrace it.  You might want to stick to just one burger, though.  And I did eat mine with some steamed green beans.  Cough.  With olive oil.  Cough.



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