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Out of Bounds: Cooking

July 8, 2016

Poblano Pepper Hamburgers

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Editor’s Note: Sizzling summer days in North Texas have me sheltered in my dark, air-conditioned cooled quarters. I rarely go out in the sun – mainly from door to car and car to door.
Hence a dilemma … do I creep out at sunset to take in live Jazz around Denton. Attempt an open-air festival? Or sacrifice my mobility for other pursuits?
Summertime cooking is a good choice right now.

I miss A Taste of Herb, especially in the summer …

My husband, Steve, is a true container gardener – mainly because of our tiny backyard. He grows beautiful peppers, tomatoes, herbs, etc.

This season, he grew Poblano Peppers for me. (I enjoy the flavor in my burgers, Mexican food dishes, and more.)

Our mission for the harvested bounty this season, was for Grilled Poblano Burgers.

When using fresh peppers, one must prepare the peppers, as peels, stems and seeds are not very appetizing.


Oven-roasted Poblano Peppers. From

And so, we roast …

I don’t have a gas stove/oven. Simply said, most pepper roasting techniques rely on the open flames of that very appliance.

So, thanks to Poblano Chiles | Vegetarian Times,, I found a reliable “electric” version.

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Rub whole Poblano with (canola or other high-heat) oil, and place on baking sheet.
  • Roast 30 to 45 minutes, or until charred on all sides, turning with tongs.
  • Transfer to bowl, cover, and let steam 15 minutes. Rub off skins.

Main event …

I tend to shop price, not grade, most of the time. So, when I see a fab discount on ground beef (73% fat), not lean ground sirloin, I jump on it.

Many recipes for the 0%-fat crowd ask you to add milk and bread, essentially reintroducing moisture into the meat. If you choose this option, add one crustless piece of white bread – torn up, mashed and mixed with 1 tablespoon 1% low-fat milk

My grind doesn’t require this, but I want to incorporate roasted Poblano peppers, and other spices to add spirited flavor to the meat. (So I’ve borrow seasoning ideas from various sources.)

  • Combine Poblano peppers (2), 1 1/2 tablespoons cilantro, cumin, coriander, paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to beef. Note: Don’t overwork the mixture, as this will toughen burgers.

Finished, adulterated Poblano Hamburger with Pickled Onions and Chipotle Cream. By

  • Place patties on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes or until grill marks appear. Carefully turn patties; grill an additional 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Place 1 patty on bottom half of each bun.

Here’s the challenge – do you add further flavors to your awesome patties? Or do you apply the simplest combination of condiments?

Many recipes dare you to pile on layers of heat. You have that option.

Remember to press a nickel-size indention into the raw patty if you plan to pile on extras.

Chipotle Cream

  • Combine 1-1/2 tablespoons cilantro, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup light sour cream, 1 tablespoon shallots, and 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice. Remove 1 chipotle pepper and 2 teaspoons adobo sauce from a 7-ounce can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. Chop chile. Stir chopped chipotle and 2 teaspoons adobo sauce into sour cream mixture.
  • When assembling burgers, add three tablespoons to the top of the patty before covering it with the top bun.

Adobo sauce is powerful stuff. Take care not to breathe it in as you open the can. And do not rub eyes, nose before washing your hands, after using.

Put up the remainder of the chipotle-adobo can for other recipes. (Like I said, powerful stuff – one can will take you far in spicy cooking.)

Pickled Red Onions

Another level of flavor, this time to cool hot elements, is the tangy zip of these onions, cutting through the rich chipotle cream.

Other uses: Leftovers in bean burritos, on a beef sandwich, or mixed with fresh cilantro and orange sections for a quick relish for grilled Alaskan salmon. Yield: 2 cups (serving size: 1 tablespoon drained pickled onions)


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, halved lengthwise
  • 2 1/2 cups thinly vertically sliced red onion


  • Combine the first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add onion to pan, and cover. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.



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