Originally created 08/25/04

Basic burger has many variations



One definition of a classic could be that it inspires variations on the original theme. As in music, so in the case of the burger.

Here are three interpretations involving creative combinations of ingredients and seasonings that still remain faithful to the basic idea. One uses beef with a chipotle-flavored stuffing, one is made with tuna fish and one is meatless - with portobello mushrooms forming the substitute for the bun, around a layered mozzarella and tomato filling.

SMOKY STUFFED BURGERS

For the filling:

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 cup chopped mushrooms

1/4 cup finely diced onion

1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle pepper sauce

1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese

For the burgers:

1 pound ground beef

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle pepper sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 hamburger buns, split

Green leaf lettuce (optional)

Tomato slices (optional)

Red onion slices (optional)

To prepare filling: Heat butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onion; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in chipotle pepper sauce and Swiss cheese.

To prepare burgers: Combine ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, chipotle pepper sauce and salt in medium bowl. Divide mixture into 8 equal portions; form into patties no more than -inch thick.

Take one patty and spread some mushroom mixture in center, leaving about inch around the edges. Place a second patty on top of mushroom mixture. Press edges together, making one patty. Repeat with remaining mixture.

Grill or pan-fry burgers for about 10 to 15 minutes on each side until no longer pink.

To serve, place burgers in hamburger buns. Add lettuce, tomato and red onion slices, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

SPICY TUNA BURGERS WITH TARTAR SAUCE

1 pound yellowfin tuna

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup minced red onion

1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1 teaspoon sweet pickle relish

2 tablespoons dried bread crumbs

4 English muffins, split and toasted

Heat broiler.

Season tuna with salt. Cook tuna 5 minutes, turning once. Set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, combine mayonnaise, red onion, dill and hot pepper sauce in medium bowl. Remove cup to small bowl; stir in pickle relish to make tartar sauce. Set aside.

When tuna is cool enough to handle, break apart tuna with 2 forks and flake well. Add tuna to medium bowl with mayonnaise mixture; blend well.

Shape mixture into 4 patties, each about 3 inches in diameter. Sprinkle bread crumbs lightly on both sides of each patty. Broil patties 3 minutes on each side or until golden.

To serve, place each tuna burger on an English muffin half. Top with a tablespoonful of tartar sauce and another muffin half.

Makes 4 servings.

PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM BURGERS

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce

4 large portobello mushrooms

2 medium tomatoes, sliced

8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

1/2 cup loosely packed basil sprigs

Heat grill or broiler.

Combine olive oil and hot pepper sauce in small bowl.

With paring knife, cut stems off portobellos so that they are flush with the caps; wipe portobellos clean with damp paper towel. Brush mushrooms on both sides with hot pepper sauce mixture.

Cook mushrooms 3 minutes; turn. Brush with remaining mixture.

Cook 4 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.

Remove mushrooms to serving plate. Layer with sliced tomatoes and mozzarella cheese; tuck in basil sprigs.

Makes 4 burgers.

Recipes from Tabasco

Tabasco/associated pressPortobello mushroom burgers (left) layer mushrooms with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil sprigs for a tasty meatless sandwich. Smoky stuffed burgers (right) get distinctive flavor from the chipotle pepper sauce and Worcestershire sauce.



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