Monday, June 10, 2013

Mexico City-Style Pork Burgers

When I think mayonnaise, I instantly think Hellmann’s; the words are practically synonymous. It’s such an icon among condiments, that it’s hard to imagine making classics like deli-style macaroni and potato salads, or a BLT without it. This year marks a century since Richard Hellmann first won the public over with the sandwich-transforming mayonnaise he served at his New York deli. It’s the same great-tasting blend of quality oil, vinegar, and now cage-free eggs that has led American families to trust Hellmann’s for generations.

Hellmann’s is celebrating their 100th birthday in a big way—world record-breaking big. This September, they will commemorate the milestone in New York City at their extravagant “Blue Ribbon Table”—the World’s Longest Picnic Table. What could be more fitting than a picnic for the brand we’ve invited to our own little picnic tables for years? The best part is that all creative cooks have a chance to win a seat at the event by participating in Hellmann’s “Making Over the Best” contest.

Have you ever wanted to cook with Chef Mario Batali? Well, this is your chance (kind of). As part of the contest, fans can virtually “co-create” a recipe with Mario by putting their own spin on one of six classic Hellmann’s recipes that he has recreated. Think that Fiery Chipotle Devilled Eggs sounds like something you can improve upon? Maybe you have your own interesting take on Chicken Wings with White Barbecue Sauce? That trip to New York could be yours. Check out all of the options on the Facebook app to see which recipe calls to you the most. The Juicy Salsa Burger is what caught my eye.

Mario’s burger, a simple well-seasoned beef patty topped with fire-roasted salsa, sounded delicious. To make the recipe my own, I ran with the salsa theme, creating a full-on Mexican-inspired burger with the toppings of a traditional Mexico City street taco: tomatillo salsa verde, fresh cilantro leaves and scallions, pickled red onions, cotija cheese, and lime crema—the works. And since I like my tacos with pork, I decided to make it a pork burger (with bacon for good measure). What I found most interesting about Mario’s burger was that he added the Hellmann’s mayonnaise directly to his beef mixture. I did the same for mine, which ended up working particularly great for pork burgers because it helped to bind and keep them juicy.

These burgers have got it going on. Between the bacon, cumin, and garlic seasoning of the pork and the bright kick of the raw tomatillo and jalapeno in the salsa verde, the balance of flavors is on point. The cilantro and scallions incorporate even more freshness to the bite, while the pickled red onion adds crispness, color, and sweetness without any overpowering onion taste. Just as with a taco, the cotija cheese is the perfect finish, especially as it is squished into delicious matrimony with the mayo and sour cream crema.

Now it’s your turn. Visit to watch Mario Batali share his modern makeovers on classic Hellmann’s recipes for inspiration, then choose a favorite and put your own twist on it. Enter your recipe and you could be sitting at the World’s Longest Picnic Table in New York City in September. Good luck! #Hellmanns100

As part of the brand’s 100th birthday celebration, Hellmann’s is also helping to provide one million meals to Feeding America this year to help the fight against hunger nationwide.

Mexico City-Style Pork Burgers
Yield: 5 burgers
- 2 pounds ground pork
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 tablespoons Hellmann’s mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 6 slices bacon, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 5 seeded buns
- Salsa verde (recipe follows)
- 1 bunch scallions (about 7 scallions), chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro leaves, picked from the stems and rinsed
- Pickled onions (recipe follows)
- 6 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled
- Lime crema (recipe follows)
1) Add the pork, cumin, mayo, salt and pepper to a large bowl. Heat a skillet over medium heat; add the bacon and cook until the fat has rendered and the bacon is done but not crispy, about 3 minutes. Add the bacon to the bowl with the pork, leaving the fat in the skillet. Cook the garlic in the rendered bacon fat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the garlic and any remaining fat to the pork and mix well until all the ingredients are combined.
2) Form five even burger patties. Grill the burgers over medium-high heat, about 5-6 minutes per side, until cooked through. Toast the buns. In the meantime, toss the scallions and the cilantro leaves together like a salad.
3) To assemble the burgers: Place a pork burger on each toasted bun. Place a generous spoonful of salsa verde on the burgers and spread. Top with the scallion and cilantro mixture, and several slices of pickled onion. Crumble the cotija cheese over. Spread the lime crema on the top bun of each burger, or place on the table for self service.

Pickled Red Onion (1 cup)
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ cup water
- 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
- Juice from 1 lime
- 1 red onion, sliced
• Combine the sugar, salt, water, vinegar, and lime juice in a small saucepan and bring to boil; pour over the onions. Store in an airtight container. Marinate for at least 1 hour before using.

Salsa Verde (1 cup)
- 6 tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and roughly chopped
- 1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped
- 5 sprigs cilantro, thick stems removed
- ¼ cup white onion, roughly chopped, rinsed under cold water, and well drained
- Salt to taste
• Combine all ingredients except for salt in a blender or food processor and process to coarse puree. Season with salt to taste as needed.

Lime Crema (about ½ cup)
- ½ cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- Salt and pepper to taste
• Combine the mayo, sour cream, lime zest and juice in a medium bowl and whisk until well combined. Add the salt and pepper to taste.

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