Smoky Enchilada Burgers

S&GMexiBurg (12 of 14)
I have made myself very busy lately; I’ve taken on lots of small projects and extracurricular interests and spread myself a little too thin at times. All of this is voluntary of course, and it is coming after a vast, yawning period of boredom so the mild chaos is welcome. This is not a “wow, look how full my life is” post, nor is it another hymn pulled from the busy-god prayer book, it is actually a long-winded excuse for the crazy poor quality of the photos you are about to scroll by, surely with a pity grimace stretched across your face. Thing is, I had one evening slotted for this post and that was the evening a giant black storm descended on Denver and killed my light. Oops!

Either way, the burger tasted good–quite good actually–and with food that’s 75% of the battle. Honestly, the best part of this burger is the tomato-less pico. I knew the flavor of fresh tomatoes wouldnt fit here so I simply removed them from the equation and chopped everything a little finer than normal. It’s like a tasty, fresh, tart, burger confetti. In fact, I liked this simple mix so much I made it again the next night to go atop some pre-made tamales (thanks Whole Foods!).

S&GMexiBurg (4 of 14)

Does the idea of making your own enchilada sauce bum you out? It shouldn’t. It’s actually super easy and it’s a nice trick to have up your sleeve. This is a cheater enchilada sauce, by the way. I’m pretty sure the authentic stuff involves roasting things and then simmering for hours on end. A worthwhile endeavor for another day.

I also overcooked my burgers a touch. Kitchen adventures: RAW & UNCUT.

S&GMexiBurg (1 of 1)

Smoky Enchilada Burgers

Smoky Enchilada Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • salt to taste

Tomato-less Pico

  • ⅓ cup finely minced sweet onion
  • 2 tsp finely minced jalapeno
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice from ½ to 1 whole lime (to taste)
  • Salt to taste


  • 4 soft hamburger buns, such as brioche or regular sesame seed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 lb ground beef, 80% lean
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¾ cup or 3 slices monterey jack or white cheddar cheese
  • ½ avocado, sliced

S&GMexiBurg (5 of 14)


  1. Heat oil for enchilada sauce over medium heat and then whisk in flour and cook, continuing to whisk, for about 1 minute. Whisk in chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika and tomato paste. It will turn into a big difficult clump and might take a bit of arm power to mix in, do not fret.
  2. Pour in a small amount of broth, about 2-3 tablespoons, whisking constantly. Once worked in, add another small amount of broth, whisking constantly. Repeat until either broth is all used or the sauce is about the consistency you want (a little on the thick side for these burgers). Note, the sauce will thicken a little as it sits, keep that in mind.
  3. Taste the sauce for salt. Add some until it tastes right to you. Remove from heat. You will have extra sauce for sure, use it later in the week to make enchiladas later or store in the freezer until you have time.
  4. Mix together the minced sweet onion, cilantro, & jalapeno in a small bowl. Add salt and lime juice until it taste good to you. Note: I like it to be on the tart side because it balances out the smoky heaviness of the enchilada sauce, but do your own thing.
  5. Split buns if needed and toast either in toaster or under the broiler
  6. Preheat large skillet with about a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat.
  7. Split hamburger into three or four sections, depending on the size of your buns and appetite. Form into patties, remember to be gentle. Create a dimple in the middle of each to prevent major puffing. Season both sides of patties with salt and pepper.
  8. Cook patties in large skillet until cooked, but not overcooked. Everyones patty will be different. Touch the patties to judge the firmness. Use this guide. Right before you take them out of the pan sprinkle patties with monterrey jack and cover so the cheese gets melty.
  9. Build burgers: bottom bun+small amount of sauce+patty with cheese+pico+avocado+top bun with sauce

S&GMexiBurg (6 of 14)
S&GMexiBurg (7 of 14)
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S&GMexiBurg (11 of 14)

Alright, that’s it! I recommend you get everything set up and ready to go before you start cooking the burgers. There is nothing worse than seeing your perfect patties cooling on the counter while you scramble to get the toppings together.

Oh, one thing, my husband added some corn chips on his burger to replace the avocado because he doesn’t like avocado (I KNOW) and he was pleased with it, so try that too, if you want.

And please, don’t submit this post to some nationally ranked photography competition, I just couldn’t handle the celebrity status that will surely come with winning that accolade.
S&GMexiBurg (14 of 14)


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