My husband and I discovered a little burger joint soon after moving to south Texas. It’s not a fancy place. In fact it’s kind of grimey looking on the outside. A regular person might even drive right past it and not think twice about it. It’s just a little dive of a place really, along the side of the road in Hondo, TX, but one day the old man and I cowboyed up and gave it a try … and I tell you … we absolutely fell in love with the Santa Fe burger that we ordered that first day. We love it so much it’s all we can ever think about when we drive by. We stop in regularly, on our way through town, just to indulge in its deliciousness. We love it so much we haven’t even ever tried anything else on the menu. You ever find a restaurant like that? They are real sweet about adding a few extra things to our burgers, which is what puts the Santa Fe right over the top. The next thing we know we’ve got it dripping down our arms, not saying a word, chewing as fast as we can to make our nagging tongues happy.
So, because of the couple of little extras I always ask for, I feel like its okay to give you my take on Billy Bobs lovely little sandwich of deliciousness. My version by no means replaces theirs, but it’s a nice little appetizer between trips. I’ll warn you up front that It’s a little bit of work to make, but baby it’s worth it!!!! At least in my book.
Prepare the Green Chilies
For this recipe you’ll need about two green chilies per person, so about eight should do. I pick out the biggest and most firm Anaheim (Hatch, Fresno, New Mexico) green chilies available at the market (I also grow them in my garden).
Wash them and dry them off, and then lay them out on a cookie sheet.
Raise one of the oven racks to its highest position in the oven and turn the oven on to BROIL. Allow the oven to warm up, and then put the cookie sheet of chilies in, just under the top heating element.
I usually prop a wooden spoon in the door to hold it open a tad, so I can hear the chilies popping and crackling.
I keep an eye on them, as it doesn’t take long. When I see that they are pretty popped and blistered, and burned on that top side, I open the oven, slide the rack out, and use tongs to turn the chilies a quarter of a turn, and then put them back under the heat. I continue broiling and turning until the chilies are popped and blistered, and charred on all sides.
Quickly remove the chilies from the oven with tongs and immediately place them into a plastic Ziploc freezer back. As soon as all the chilies are inside the bag, zip it up, and then let them sit and steam for several minutes, while you work on the rest of your meal.
Back in Wyoming there was a certain time in the summer when the green chile trucks would show up in parking lots around town with heaping baskets full of green chilies and a barrel-type roaster that rotated over an open fire. We could buy the amount of chilies we wanted and they would roast them, and then package them up for us to take home. I often bought large amounts of those chilies, took them home and repackaged them (about six chilies to a bag) into plastic zip bags, with their blistered skins left on, but all the air squeezed out, and put them straight into my freezer. Whenever I wanted to make something with green chilies I’d grab a bag and let it thaw for a little bit on the kitchen counter, peel the skins off in the sink, and sometimes remove the seeds and stems (depending upon what I was making), and either use them whole or chop them into pieces for whatever recipe I was doing. SOooooo many ways to use green chilies!!!!
Its unfortunate, but we don’t get those trucks in the little Texas town where I live now, and perhaps not where you live either. The BBQ grill works, but I’m not a fan of standing over a hot grill to babysit chilies on a hot south Texas day. But, in this instance, you’ll be grilling burgers out there anyways, so you may prefer just to do it all on the grill. And maybe you have a hubby who is all about the grill and happy to do them for you! Knuckle bump!!!!
UPDATE: Since first posting this blog I got myself a neat little propane weed burner torch for burning those dadgum, infernal sticker burr weeds that grow up in the lawn down here in south Texas around labor day and Valentine’s Day, and I tell you what, it works pretty darn good for that, but it works slicker than snot for roasting chilies outside on the patio firepit on a gorgeous fall afternoon.
The Beef Patties
1 (1-pound) pkg of high quality ground beef plus 1 (1-pound) pkg of ground bison
1 jalapeno, stem removed, seeds and flesh chopped finely
1/2 of a small red onion, chopped finely
1 tsp Salt Lick dry rub seasoning (this is mostly just cayenne and ground black pepper)
Sliced Pepper Jack cheese – to be placed on burgers at the end of grilling
Hamburger buns of choice (Sometimes all I can find are the regular, sesame seed buns, but when I can find a good, soft, ciabatta-type bun, I use that).
Mix together gently and form into four or five good-sized patties. Set aside while you prepare the following ingredients, and then grill the burgers over hot coals on the BBQ. Add the cheese during the last minute or so of grilling.
Bacon (2 slices per burger), the best is the thicker sliced applewood bacon, fried crispy…
(but if I’m in a hurry and don’t have leftover bacon from breakfast, I’ll use the precooked bacon available at the grocery store and go with 3 or 4 slices per burger)
Peel the skins off the green chilies, and remove seeds and stems, but leave whole
Sliced red onion
Sliced heirloom tomatoes
Romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried
Dill pickle slices
Garlic Mayonaise (mash 1 clove of garlic and mix into 2/3 cup of mayo, I often add a sprinkle of chili powder and a squeeze of lime, and sometimes some minced cilantro)
To Assemble the Burger
Some like their buns toasted
Spread some mayo over the bun halves
Squirt on some mustard
Lay a whole slice of red onion down
Place a few slices of jalapeno on top of the onion
Then a freshly cooked beef pattie with melted cheese
Layer on two Green Chilies, two slices of cooked bacon, a slice of tomato, a folded leaf of lettuce, (and a couple slices of dill pickle if desired)
Place the top of bun in place
Mash down so you can fit it in your mouth and ENJOY!!!!!
For this Memorial Day,
… I made these burgers and served them with my Jalapeno Potato Salad (from Cowboy Backyard BBQ), plus my latest favorite food: Mexican Street Corn, and sliced watermelon for dessert.
Mama’s POTATO SALAD
6 large red potatoes cooked until tender and cubed, skins on or off as preferred
4 hard boiled eggs, cooled and chopped
1/2 large red onion diced
3 stalks of celery chopped
2 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
1 small sprig of dill weed, chopped
1 bunch of green onions chopped
1 or 2 large jalapenos, seeds and stems removed, diced
1 cups Mayonnaise (plus more or less, as you like it)
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Sea Salt (plus more as desired)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground pepper
Put first eight ingredients in a very large bowl. Mix up sauce ingredients and pour over the ingredients in the bowl. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Add a half-cup of blue cheese crumbles and a quarter cup of crispy crumbled bacon as a garnish on top of potato salad.
Colleen’s Mexican Street Corn
- 8 ears fresh sweet corn (leave the husks and stems on)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp Mexican crema (my grocer carries two types, a sweet cream type,which tastes like heavy whipping cream, and a sour cream kind. Both have a slightly thicker consistency than whipping cream)
- 1/2 cup finely crumbled cotija or Queso Fresco cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (I make my own blend, see recipe below)
- 1 medium clove garlic, mashed and finely minced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 4 or 5 limes, cut into wedges
I grilled my corn in the husks on the grill, turning about every 5 minutes until charred on all sides, and then I pulled the husks down over the stems (using oven mitt to protect my hands from burning) and returned the corn to the grill for a short time (about 3 minutes) to give the kernels that charred effect. What works even better though is that nifty little propane torch I told you about above. I left the husks attached for a decorative effect, but now as I look at these photos I’m thinking they might have been even cuter if I had tied something around each husk, like a piece of raffia or something, to bundle them together and anchor them to the stems, turning them into decorative “handles.” NOTE: The corn can also be shucked and “grilled” in the oven at 425 degrees F, turning about every 7 minutes or so until cooked all the way around. Once it is cooked on all sides and has some charred spots it’s time to dress it up.
While the corn is grilling, mix together the mayo (please don’t use the fat-free stuff. I know it may be healthier for you, but really, you must live a little!!! At this just this one meal in your lifetime!), crema, garlic, and add about 1/4 tsp of the chili powder. Juice and zest a couple of the limes and then add the juice and zest to the mayo mixture. Toss in about half of the crumbled cotija (Queso Fresco). Mix well and keep in fridge until ready to use. Cut the remaining limes into wedges and save for serving.
As soon as the corn is grilled, spread each cob with a generous amount of the mayo mix on all sides. Don’t be chincy. Follow with a sprinkling all around of chili powder, and then cheese crumbles. Sprinkle some cilantro on top, and a few extra sprinkles of the cheese. Serve immediately with a wedge of lime for each cob!
You’ve died and gone to heaven, right? I’m there with ya!!!!!!
Colleen’s Homemade Chili Powder
- 3 Ancho Chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
- 3 Cascabel/Guajillo chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
- 4 Arbol/Cayenne chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
- 2 Pasilla chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
- 2 New Mexico Red chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
- 1 Tablespoon Cumin seeds
- 1 Tablespoon dried Mexican Oregano
- 1 Tablespoon hot Paprika
- Chili Pequin to taste (I sometimes crush these little guys separately and only add it to single portions, as it really brings the heat)
Place the chiles and cumin seeds in a saute pan or cast iron skillet and toast over medium heat about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and place in a glass bowl to cool completely. Once cool, place in a blender, along with the other ingredients and process until a fine powder. Allow the powder to settle for several minutes before lifting the lid. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Use for making chili, to season corn, or in BBQ sauces and dry rubs.
“Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, [and] anoint the shield…” Isaiah 21:5