On average I make one, two, ten? trips a day to the market for fresh seasonal treasures. Finding Chile Sage in the produce section always makes my day. Not an herb, she’s my chile guru from New Mexico. This time we were hanging out talking enchiladas, more specifically sauces when she said — and I knew this was coming —
“I wish I could but I can’t give you my recipe.” We both laughed. Then I sighed, a theatrical sigh. Which amused her. If I had a New Mexico quarter for every time someone in the Southwest responded that their family recipe was locked in a safety deposit box and their grandmother would disown them if they gave it away, I could buy an original O’Keeffe I dream of this one.
These family secret terms and conditions. I respect them. Even though I’m still perfecting my enchiladas, and Chile Sage has one of the top two most memorable creamy flavorful light recipes I’ve ever tasted. The other best ever recipe is from another home cook and hers is also “locked in the home safe” about her technique. Chile Sage guides me to the right ingredients, gives helpful hints. But the sharing of an entire recipe, the step by step, am I really going to say it?….it’s corny….but wait….I can’t resist.…my apologies…the whole enchilada? No not ever. And her conviction being so “Never mind air, I have my enchiladas,” well…this always tickles me silly. So why all this talk of enchiladas today when I’m posting my delicious Southwest Cheeseburger? Because my first idea was called The Enchilada Cheeseburger. I was very excited about it.
I decided to try mixing my enchilada sauce and Mexican crema into seasoned 80/20 ground beef. Added a few more things, grilled them, topped with pepper cheese and avocado relish. They were great, but let’s just say you can count on me for a forthcoming amazing Enchilada Meatloaf recipe. Great flavor but too mushy soft for a burger. Sometimes the best recipes happen this way. First try — not what I’d hoped for but inspires a new recipe. I put the sauce and crema away, picked up seasonings for a Southwest Cheeseburger and kept the avocado relish because the sweet fruit with citrus is a cool fresh balance to the savory patty and pepper cheese heat.
“Jalapeno Aliens” photo collage inspired by deseeding them without wearing gloves. My fingers got zapped. The heat is in the seeds and that white membrane ribbing inside. If you’re like my husband Mr.D and enjoy the sensation of a miniature alien standing on your tongue firing off a laser gun on spray mode, then leave those seeds in there. I generally take the mild road and if anyone wants more heat, I offer chopped solar flares and hot sauce at the table. That’s no insult to the chef. We all have our own unique tolerance to space modulator kabooms. And thank you Mr.D for finding those Christmas bulbs for the jalapeno alien antennae, he’s my favorite.
I adapted this recipe from a cookbook I bought while taking lessons at the Santa Fe School of Cooking. Written by Susan Curtis and Nicole Curtis Ammerman in collaboration with several excellent chefs. A fantastic representation of Southwest cuisine — a mix of Native American, Spanish, Mexican and Anglo. It’s always on my kitchen counter.
The first step is to make the Avocado Jalapeno Relish and put it in the fridge so the flavors come together. The burger patties are seasoned with cumin, coriander, fresh minced onion and Chili Powder. Note: that’s chili powder with an ‘ i ‘ like the powder you use to make tacos, with cumin, oregano and a few other spices. As opposed to Red Chile Powder with an “e” that is pure ground red chile.
The sweetness and heat from the relish, smooth avocado, warm gooey cheese, crunch from the lettuce and red onion – I’d Order That!
The following recipe makes 6 burgers.
[gmc_recipe 91] [gmc_recipe 94] [gmc_recipe 76]