Last summer the TODAY show held a “Burger Battle” in search of the best original burger recipe and the inspiration behind it. I thought, “Why not?” I made taste testers out of my family. My son wouldn’t try it but my daughter (the more adventurous eater) and husband gave me a thumbs up.
I wasn’t contacted by the TODAY show, clearly a mistake (haha) but their contest did present me the occasion to create something special. So I am sharing my inspiration and recipe on Valentine’s Eve because it’s all about the LOVE.
When I reflect upon the quintessential “Valentine Lovebirds,” I think of my mom and dad who lived a loving, healthy and happy marriage, on par with few I have seen. My parents met at the Los Angeles Police Academy in “Elysian Park“ in 1964. An unlikely duo from the outset, he being 14 years her senior with a wild past and she being a mere girl of 18 who always followed the rules. He was a Lieutenant at the time and she was a secretary to the Chief. I’m pretty certain my dad visited that office more than was actually necessary. They fell head over heels in love and were married in June of 1966.
They were a true fairy tale couple who were the personification of love for 45 years (my father died unexpectedly in 2008). Both of my parents were fiercely proud of their heritage and my sister and I were raised with the same pride. My dad the dark Irish, and my mom, the beautiful “Jackie O” look-alike with strong Mexican roots, somehow grew into the perfect couple.
This recipe is a tribute to the uniqueness that gave me my Irish Mexican heritage and to the love that bloomed in Elysian Park, California in 1964. Happy Valentine’s Day.
1 pound organic ground sirloin
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1 cup finely diced cooked corned beef (have corned beef shaved thin in the deli)
1 jalapeño pepper (seeds removed) and finely diced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tb dried oregano
1 Tb country Dijon mustard
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 Tb Jameson Irish whiskey
Three-pepper Colby cheese, thinly sliced
1, 14 oz. can sauerkraut, drained
1 small head of Frisee lettuce
Fresh Rye bread
Preheat grill. Add all ingredients through the Jameson Irish whiskey to a large glass bowl. Gently mix all ingredients together (use your clean hands if desired). From ground sirloin mixture, form three 1/3 pound patties. Lower grill heat and place patties on aluminum foil on the grill and grill about 4 minutes on each side. Once grease has melted off, place burgers directly on grill for another two to three minutes per side.
In a sauté pan, add a teaspoon of sugar and a tablespoon of olive oil and heat on medium. Add the drained sauerkraut to the pan and sauté until browned.
Brush each side of the Rye bread with olive oil and a little melted butter and grill for about 1 to 2 minutes per side (don’t overcook).
Add burger to bread and top with three-pepper Colby cheese, browned sauerkraut, and frisee lettuce. *You can add extra dijon to the grilled bread if desired.
Chow down. Seriously amazing burger. A shot of whiskey or tequila is optional BUT highly recommended.