Sirloin Burger with Candied Onions, Peppers and Chipotle Aoli Sauce

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Is there nothing better than the smell of barbecue? I swear, someone should come up with a new fragrance…”eau de barbeque”. Doesn’t that sound fantastic?  You could carry that “wow, that barbecue smells great and I’m not even hungry” feeling all day with you…really…I would buy it…really.  So, that being said, I didn’t cook these on a barbeque.  It’s (still) not summer…it’s actually not even spring (according to the weather), and I didn’t feel like cooking in the icky weather.  In the middle of winter, when I can’t bear going outside to grill something, I use my trusted old cast iron pan (you will see pictures of it here).  It imparts a great smoky flavour, all while retaining the juicy goodness in meats – and, the kicker is, they are cheap!  Just take care of it and it will last you forever.

1 lb (454g) ground sirloin (or lean ground beef if you’re not going to the butcher)
1 lb (454g) sweet italian sausage, removed from the casings
1 small onion, grated
1 tbsp sauce from canned chipotle (divide the rest into snack bags – ideally 2 tbsp each – and freeze for later)
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 c shredded old cheddar cheese or sliced brie
4 buns (homemade would be awesome)
1 red pepper, sliced
3 small onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 c pickled jalapenos (like the ones you use for nachos)
1/4 c brown sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 c mayonaise
1 tbsp chipotle sauce (as above)
2 tbsp roasted garlic (optional…but great touch!)
1.  In a bowl, mix (with your hands is best) the first 7 ingredients (beef through ground pepper).  Form into patties…your choice on how thick or thin…my family likes really thin but 2 patties per bun; refrigerate.
2.  In the casr iron pan, heat up the olive oil.  Cook the onions until they begin to brown; add the jalapenos and continue cooking until the caramelization begins and the mixture is soft.  Add the vinegar and cook for a few minutes.  Sprinkle with the brown sugar and cook again until it begins to bubble.  Remove to a plate and keep warm.
3.  In the same pan, add a touch more oil (try to scrape out as much of the onion mixture as possible so the brown sugar remaining doesn’t burn).  Add the peppers and cook.  You want them brown and wilted but not burnt.  Remove to a dish and keep warm.
4.  In a small bowl, mix together mayo, chipotle and smashed roasted garlic…set aside.
4.  In the same pan (don’t you love how efficient this is?), add the burgers and cook until brown on the outside and cooked through (remember there is pork in this mixture so it shouldn’t be pink).
5.  Assemble the burgers: place the bottom of the bun on a plate.  Top with a generous handful of the cheese and then the burger;  top that with a heaping spoon of the onion mixture and top that with some of the fried peppers.  On the top bun, spread some of the aoli and top the burger with the bun…


mis en place for the burgers (the cooked onions are in the jar…I could totally eat these out of the jar).


see…look…don’t they look awesome? when the onions begin to brown and you get a waft of heat from the jalapenos, and a whiff of the balsamic and see the bubbling brown sugar…oh, just stop…

 cook down the peppers until they are browning and wilted. If needed, add a splash of water to increase the steam.