Smoky Harissa Burgers on Homemade Pretzel Buns

September 19, 2014

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How could we have gotten through most of the outside Summer backyard grilling time without me mentioning one single burger recipe? I guess I have been focused quite a bit on Meatless recipes this summer, and well a burger is usually chock full of meat of some type. At long last, carnivore’s take note, here is a recipe for a juicy, spicy, flavour filled Smoky Harissa Burger. The meat patty itself is quite tasty, but there are also a delightful array of toppers which put this burger way over the top and make your taste buds sing. First of all there is that Harissa Aoili. Harissa is spicy North African and Middle Eastern hot pepper chili paste which contains red peppers, Serrano peppers as well as some other peppers thrown in for good measure, and spices and herbs such as garlic and coriander. I bought some which was freshly prepared at my local Whole Foods market, but I have also purchased a tin of Harissa paste at a local Lebanese market. If you like spicy, as you know the husband and I do, you are going to LOVE Harissa Aoili. Kicked up burgers to the extreme! Next this burger is topped with Lime Pickled Red Onion, which adds a delightful tangy bite to the sandwich. Of course there is some wonderfully creamy gooey melted cheese, peppery arugula for a bit more crunch and finally….bacon! Oh yes bacon! I know you carnivores are dancing the happy bacon dance. Yup….the happy bacon dance does exist. Instructional video to follow…or if you’d like to submit your own, I would love to see it! All that adds up to one MONSTER of a burger.

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It is so good, there is just not enough summer time left. I bet you’ll be standing out in your snowy backyards during this winter’s blizzards (the weather has been nutty huh?) and grilling them up. (I would love to receive those pics too…) AND…I served these gems up on those ever so trendy (deservedly so…they are TAAAE-STEEE) Pretzel Sandwich Buns which I just told you about in my last blog. Yup. You thought this burger couldn’t get any better and lookie what I did! So what are you waiting for? Get grilling! Time’s a wasting!

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Smoky Harissa Burgers

  • Servings: 4 burgers
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: Feasting At Home

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef – makes Four – 4 ounce burgers
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ Cup finely diced onion, shallot or scallion
  • ½ -¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Spanish Smoked Paprika

For Serving:

  • 3-4 Tablespoons Harissa Aioli -see recipe below
  • ¼ Cup lime pickled red onions-see recipe below
  • 8 slices crispy bacon -2 slices per burger
  • 4 Pretzel buns- or store-bought buns of your choice
  • 1 Cup baby arugula
  • 4 oz. cheese sliced ( any melty cheese- jack, provolone, cheddar, Edam, gouda)

Instructions:

Make Pretzel Buns or Purchase Buns of your choice.

Pre heat grill to medium high.

Make lime pickled onions, refrigerate. ( see recipe below)

In a medium bowl, using your hands, combine ground beef with onion, garlic, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and smoked paprika just to combine, being careful to not over mix. Form patties. I use a kitchen scale to ensure uniform sizes. I made 4 ounce burgers with this recipe. Shape burgers into a ball and then flatten to form a disc. Push your thumb down into the center of each patty to form a small depression. This will help the burgers to cook evenly and hold their shape. Set aside.

Fry bacon slices, set on paper towel to drain.

In a small bowl, whisk mayo with harissa paste. Set aside.

When grill is hot, grill patties to medium rare or medium. Toast buns at the same time.

Top burger patties with cheese and close grill lid turning heat off , allowing cheese to melt- (or place in a warm oven, topping with cheese, to allow it to melt).

Assemble. Once cheese has melted, assemble. Spread aioli on the buns, place burgers, bacon, more aioli, arugula and pickled onions and then the bun top. Serve immediately. 

Lime Pickled Red Onions

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tablespoons (60 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely diced
  • table salt

Directions:

Mix the lime juice, onion and a pinch or two of salt in a small dish or mason jar. Let stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Harissa Aioli

Ingredients:

  • ½ Cup mayo
  • 1-2 Tablespoons harissa paste 

Directions:
Stir the harissa paste  into the mayo in a small bowl, set aside. 

Enjoy!

Recipe brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )


Slow-Cooker Black Bean Ragout

September 5, 2014

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You know how I just told you all about those wonderful Rustic Ciabatta Loaves I baked the other day? That bread was deee-lish all on its own. And toasted with a big old dollop of butter melted over the top? Pure bliss I tell you. And guess what guys…today I have another unbelievably tasty topping for you to pile onto a thick toasted hunk of that Ciabatta. Slow-Cooker Black Bean Ragout. Oh my goodness. Just think about that title….Slow Cooker -Great because it sounds super easy and Black Bean Ragout – well you just know its going to be a spicy, zesty Meatless Monday masterpiece!

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I found this gem of a recipe in the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. And as with every single recipe I have made from that veritable treasure trove, it was truly fantastic. And even better, sooooo easy. You just throw all of the ingredients into your slow cooker and walk away. About 6 -8 hours later you come back, fiddle around a bit with thickening up the beans if you wish, putting the final touches on the spices and preparing a couple of lovely accompaniments, the cumin crema – who would’ve ever thought sour cream could be so much better by simply adding a bit of cumin – and those addictive lime-pickled red onions – the husband is curious why lime-pickled red onions are not served along with every meal, and you’re golden.

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This recipe makes up about 6 cups of Black Bean Ragout, which was enough for several meals for us. Luckily it was very versatile, so we never grew tired of it. We ate it over toasted Rustic Ciabatta bread, we ate it over rice, and I made a couple southwestern style omelets with it for brunch one day. I think it would be a great black bean side dish served along with any Tex Mex favourite. Refreshing and light in the summer, but also easily a hearty, stick to your ribs cold weather comfort dish. All that and very little time and effort on your part. We’ve hit the Black Bean jackpot with this one. You simply must make a big pot of this today!

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Slow-Cooker Black Bean Ragout

  • Servings: 6 cups of ragout
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Deb Perlman’s Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Ingredients:

For the Bean Ragout:

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 pound (455 grams or 2 1/4 cups) dried black beans, rinsed if not already soaked
  • 4 ounces chopped green chilis
  • 2 Tablespoons (35 grams) tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 9 cups water or unsalted vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

For the Garlicky Toast:

  • 1 inch thick slice of bread (such as the ciabatta recipe I just gave you!)
  • olive oil
  • table salt
  • 1 large garlic clove, halved

For the Cumin Crema

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup (240 grams) sour cream, crème fraîche, or crema mexicana

For the Lime-Pickled Red Onions

  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 medium red onion, finely diced
  • table salt

For serving:

  • Cilantro leaves, fresh avocado wedges, cotija cheese crumbles, fresh cherry tomatoes

Directions:

Put all of the bean ragout ingredients except lime juice in a 6 quart slow-cooker (the slow-cooker doesn’t care how you layer your ingredients). Cover and cook at high setting until beans are very tender, about 3 -6  hours.

Or if you don’t have a slow-cooker, you can do this on stove top. Just place all of the bean ragout ingredients except lime juice in a large pot or dutch oven and bring to a boil. Reduce to a very low simmer and cook for approximately 3 hours until the beans are tender.

To make the toasts: Brush the bread with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Toast the bread under the broiler and as soon as you take it out of the oven, rub it with the raw garlic clove.

To Make the Crema: Stir together 1 teaspoon of ground cumin with sour cream and set aside.

To Make the Pickled Red Onions: Mix the lime juice, onion and a pinch or two of salt in a small dish or mason jar. Let stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use to garnish black-bean ragout.

Once the beans are cooked, stir in the lime juice. Adjust seasonings to taste. If the ragout is thinner than you would like, transfer 1 – 2 cups of the cooked beans to a blender and pulse to puree. Return the puree to the ragout and stir to combine. Ladle black beans over the garlicky toasts and sprinkle with chopped cilantro, cumin crema, lime pickled onions and fresh cherry tomatoes. Serve with avocado wedges.

Enjoy!

Black Bean Ragout brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )


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