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Chinese 5-Spice Burgers
Several years ago I entered a cooking contest for "Best Burger". The only requirement was that one of the ingredients be one of several local wines. Alas, I did not win the Grand Prize, but my name was placed beside the words "Honorable Mention."
Not too bad for someone who typically doesn't eat beef and doesn't own a grill.
I could elaborate with a long story. But today this recipe will be short, sweet, and to the point.
- 8 or 10-inch nonstick frying pan
- medium-size bowl
- charcoal or gas grill
- instant read thermometer
- 1 cup button mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 green onions (including tops), finely chopped
- 6 tablespoons Chinese plum sauce
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2 tablespoons Merlot wine
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 tsp. Chinese 5-spice powder
- 1 tsp. dark sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tsp. salt
- vegetable oil for brushing on grill rack
- 4 large sesame seed buns, split
- red lettuce leaves
- Pour oil into an 8- to 10-inch nonstick frying pan over high heat; when hot, add mushrooms and stir until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in the green onions and plum sauce and remove from heat.
- In a bowl, gently mix ground beef with soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, Chinese five spice, and ginger. Shape beef mixture into four equal patties, each about 1/2 inch thick.
- Lay patties on a lightly oiled barbecue grill over a solid bed of medium-hot coals or medium-high heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 3 to 4 seconds); close lid on gas grill. Cook patties until no longer pink in the center (cut to test) or a thermometer inserted in center reaches 160°, 6 to 8 minutes total, turning once to brown evenly. After 5 minutes, lay bun halves, cut side down, on grill and toast lightly, 1 to 2 minutes.
- On the bottom half of each roll, layer the lettuce, burger, and sautéed mushroom mixture. Cover with the roll tops.