Green Chile Chicken Cheeseburgers

At times, I suffer from insatiable burger cravings. They’re often so overwhelming, I find it difficult to concentrate on little else. I’m a big burger lover – beef, chicken, turkey, veggie, I love them all. Melt some cheese on top and I’m over the moon. My boys are burger lovers, too. Logan loves traditional hamburgers, no cheese, topped with just bacon. He prefers his ketchup on the side, to be used as a dipping sauce. John loves all kinds of burgers, but whatever you do, DON’T put tomatoes on his! He absolutely hates them! They often get chucked onto my plate. He’s lucky, though, because I don’t mind one bit!

On this particular day, I craved a burger a bit more on the lean side, but with some heat behind it. I used some ground chicken thighs and created a delicious, fiery, green chile chicken cheeseburger. If you’re not familiar with green chile cheeseburgers, they’re extremely popular in the Southwest. Originally created in New Mexico, these delicious burgers are slowly making their way across the country. Green chiles are fire roasted, then used to top off grilled burgers that have been blanketed in cheddar cheese. Sounds sinful, doesn’t it? Since New Mexico green chiles are tough to find in New England, I used a blend of poblano and serrano chiles. If you can’t handle the heat, you can definitely opt to use some anaheim chiles. Just don’t leave out the cheese! I topped mine with Cabot Sharp Cheddar, because I absolutely love Cabot cheese. Yum!

Green Chile Chicken Cheeseburgers

A Butcher’s Daughter Original Recipe

What You’ll Need:

2 pounds ground chicken thighs
½ of an onion, finely grated
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup plain bread crumbs
½ cup milk
Olive oil
5 poblano chiles
3 serrano chiles
8 hamburger buns
16 slices cheddar cheese (Recommended: Cabot Sharp Cheddar)

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill. If using a stovetop, preheat a grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat.

Rub a bit of olive oil onto the peppers, then place on the hot grill (these can also be broiled on a sheet pan). Grill the peppers until blackened, then transfer to a paper or thick plastic bag to steam. Once cool, peel the blackened skin off the chiles, remove the seeds, then dice into large chunks. Set aside.

Place ground chicken in a large bowl. Add the grated onion, salt, pepper, garlic, bread crumbs and milk. Using your hands, gently combine the ingredients. You don’t want to overwork the mixture! Form into 8 patties. These can be made ahead of time and placed in the fridge to firm up.

Fold a paper towel into square, then dip in olive oil. Using tongs to hold the paper towel, lightly wipe the grill. This will prevent the burgers from sticking. If using a skillet, use just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of your pan. Cook burgers until golden and cooked through thoroughly, about 8 minutes on each side. Top each patty with two slices of cheddar cheese a few minutes before they’re are done, allowing time for the cheese to melt. Place burgers on buns and top with green chiles. Enjoy!

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Game Day Chili

Chili can be a very debatable subject among aficionados. Beef or pork? Beans or bean-less? Green or red? I know several people who claim theirs is the best. I certainly don’t claim to make the best, but I sure do make some darn good chili!

Chili originated in the late 1800’s in San Antonio, Texas. Hispanic women would gather in public places and sell bowls of chili to passersby. Cattle were cheap and plentiful in San Antonio, so chili was often made with beef. As the years went by, chili parlors opened up throughout Texas. Soon, the craze expanded to nearby states. Since beef wasn’t as abundant or inexpensive in other regions of the United States, people started adding beans to their chili, to act as a “filler.” So, as it turns out, the original chili did NOT include beans. Well, I have nothing against beans, so they make an appearance in my chili. More fiber, right?

For this recipe, I use a blend of ground beef and pork. I asked my brother, a butcher, to grind some chuck. I prefer chuck because it has a great balance of meat and fat. Fat is essential for lots of flavor. For ground pork, I use boneless pork loin. The combination of beef and pork, along with some smoky bacon, makes for a hearty, satisfying chili.

Game Day Chili

The Butcher’s Daughter original recipe

 

What You’ll Need:

olive oil
½ pound bacon, diced
1 pound ground pork (recommended: pork loin)
1 pound ground beef (recommended: chuck)
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups water
¼ cup brewed coffee
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
grated cheddar cheese, for serving

Cook bacon in a 6 to 8 quart heavy pot over medium to high heat, until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon from pot and set aside. Leave the bacon fat in the pot! This is valuable stuff!

Add the diced onion and green pepper to the pot, using the bacon fat to cook the vegetables until tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the vegetables and set aside. If the vegetables have absorbed all the bacon fat, add some olive oil to the bottom of the pot. Add the ground pork and beef and sauté until brown. Return the onion and bell pepper to the pot. Add garlic, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, and smoked paprika. Cook for about a minute. Return the bacon to the pot. Add the tomato paste to the mixture, making sure to blend it well throughout the meat. Add the crushed tomatoes, coffee, and water, and bring to a simmer. Stir in the kidney beans. Cook the chili for about 2 to 2 ½ hours, stirring occasionally. Ladle chili into bowls and top with shredded cheddar cheese before serving. Enjoy!

Ooey, Gooey, Cheesy Quesadillas with Tangy Dipping Sauce

Believe it or not, I don’t like meat in my quesadillas. No chicken. No beef. Just cheese. Ooey, gooey, stringy cheese. Quesadillas are the perfect anytime snack. Heck, you can even make it a meal. They’re definitely perfect for game day, like today. I like a combination of different cheeses in mine – extra sharp cheddar for some bite, mozzarella for that smooth taste and cheesy stringiness (see above), and habanero cheese, for that essential kick in the taste buds.

Before I go forward, I need to write some more about Cabot’s Hot Habanero Cheddar Cheese, my new-found love. I came across it in the imported cheese section of my local supermarket, while I was searching for Cabot’s Chipotle Cheddar. The chipotle cheese was nowhere to be found, and I stood there for a moment, contemplating if I was bold enough to give the habanero cheese a try. I decided to buy it.

Later that evening, I cracked open a bottle of wine (Cannonball, the hubby’s favorite), and placed a few slices of cheese onto a plate. Immediately after my first bite, my tongue was on fire. I felt an insane amount of heat permeating my taste buds. My eyes watered a bit. I drank a sip of wine and waited for the heat to die down. Then, I went back for more cheese. I was obviously insane. This cheese brought a five alarm fire to my mouth, yet I wanted more. I was hooked.

Cabot’s Hot Habanero Cheddar is now a regular in my fridge. I shred a little to top my mac and cheese, slice it for my burgers, and pair it with crackers for a simple snack. Yum.

Back the quesadilla. Even though my sister isn’t a fan of habanero cheese (or anything too spicy, for that matter), this recipe is for her. As a kid, my sister ate two things: pizza and quesadillas. When we had a family night out, if one of these two things was on the restaurant menu, she’d order it. If it wasn’t – watch out! So, Arelis, lover of ooey, gooey, cheesy quesadillas, this one’s for you!

Cheesy Yumminess

Ooey, Gooey, Cheesy Quesadillas

The Butcher’s Daughter original recipe

What You’ll Need:

For the quesadillas:

5 large flour tortillas (preferably Mission brand)
1 cup shredded extra sharp yellow cheddar cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ habanero cheese (preferably Cabot brand)
pico de gallo (optional)

For the sauce:

1 cup mayonnaise
6 slices jalapeño, minced (the kind in the jar)
10 teaspoons jalapeño juice (from the jar of jalapenos)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
First, make the sauce. Combine all the ingredients and mix well. If making the sauce ahead of time, be sure to refrigerate.

Before you assemble the quesadillas, heat a large skillet or grill pan over medium high heat. I prefer my Cusinart Grill Pan, because it gives the quesadillas nice grill marks. If you don’t have a grill pan, a large skillet will work just fine.

Combine all the cheeses into a bowl. Spread some of the sauce onto a flour tortilla. Make sure to keep it within about an inch of the edge of the tortilla. You don’t want the sauce to ooze out when your press down on your quesadillas. On one side of the tortilla, sprinkle some of your cheese blend. Make sure it’s spread out evenly. You want each bite to be filled with some cheesy goodness. Fold the tortilla over. Place the quesadilla on the grill pan (or skillet, if that’s what you’re using) and let sit for 3 to 4 minutes before flipping. When you flip over the quesadilla, press on it lightly with a spatula to ensure the cheese “glues” the tortilla shell in place. While the quesadilla is achieving that spectacular level of cheesiness, assemble the remainder of your quesadillas.

Once all the quesadillas are cooked, allow to cool for about one minute before cutting into triangles. Serve with the remainder of the sauce on the side and some pico de gallo (optional). Enjoy!