Sunday, June 10, 2012

Apple And Pork Burgers

There are countless kinds of beef burger recipes out there. There are also many for chicken or turkey burgers. There are a wide variety of burgers available at your local grocers - from your basic beef burger to a gourmet variety! You can make or buy salmon burgers. If you are lucky, you will even find farmers sausage burgers in your area. (I prefer Winkler Farmer Sausage!)

But you don't often see recipes for a pork burger - unless you really look for them.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that lean ground pork was on sale at a local grocer. I'd never bothered buying ground pork before but decided to look for recipes for pork burgers. I found several at Pick Pork (type "burgers" into their search box on the left side for the full list) and also at Canadian Living.

The recipe that I came up with for this post is based on the Sage Apple Burger from Canadian Living. The original called for apple juice to be mixed in, but I decided to try it with grated apple instead. I also added some sweet bell pepper, a bit of BBQ sauce and some garlic powder. The apple and the BBQ sauce help keep the burger moist and add flavour. This recipe will also work well with ground chicken or turkey rather than with the pork.

Since I live in an apartment without a balcony, I grill my burgers on a George Foreman Grill. However, if you are lucky enough to have an outdoor grill, The Manitoba Pork Council recommends that you barbecue fresh/thawed burgers over medium heat for 5-6 minutes per side or until no pink remains. Frozen burgers will obviously take a bit longer.

When serving the burgers, I like to use my Mango Chutney (recipe posted here) but you could also use relish (my recipe posted here). It's a personal choice how you garnish!

Apple And Pork Burgers

1 1/2 pound lean ground pork
1 egg
1/3 cup finely chopped green onion
1/4 cup finely chopped red or orange sweet bell pepper
1/3 cup grated apple (1 medium apple, peeled and cored)
1 Tablespoon BBQ sauce (original, onion or garlic work best)
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried sage

Combine all ingredients and shape into 6 or 7 burgers. Place the burgers between layers of wax paper in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze the burgers, then stack (with the wax paper between them) in a freezer bag and store in freezer for future use.

Note: I cut several lengths of wax paper ahead of time, then lay a burger at the end of each one and fold end over end so that once they are frozen, there is at least two layers of wax paper between each one. This makes it MUCH easier to separate when you want to cook them.

 Everyone has their own way of preparing and garnishing their burgers. This is mine:

1 apple and pork burger (frozen)
1 slice onion
slice of red or orange sweet bell pepper
3 medium mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 whole wheat hamburger bun
light mayo, or ranch dressing
mustard (French's original or sweet onion)
Mango Chutney
Monterey Jack or Mozzarella Cheese

While the grill is preheating, prepare the veggies and bun. Spread a bit of mayo or Ranch Dressing on half of the bun. On the other half, spread a bit of mustard, then mango chutney. Place a slice of cheese on each half. Toast the bun halves in a toaster oven or place under a broiler to warm buns and melt the cheese while the burger and veggies grill.

Place the burger, onion, pepper and mushrooms on preheated grill. Grill for about 6 minutes or until burger is no longer pink inside. It isn't necessary with a Foreman Grill, but I like to turn the burgers and veggies about 1/2 way through to ensure even grilling.

To assemble, place the onion and pepper on the bottom half of the bun, top with the burger, then sliced mushrooms and then the top of the bun. You can either lay the onion and pepper on whole or chop and then put it on the bun. I find that by putting the onions and peppers on one side or the burger and the mushrooms on the other that the veggies are less apt to fall out as you eat them - probably sticks a bit more to the cheese that way!
I also tend to have more of the mango chutney on the side for dipping but you could also use ketchup.

Serve with a tossed green salad or raw veggies and dip.



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