January 31, 2012

The House To Yourself Burger with Mango Glazed Pork Belly

Mango glazed pork belly - indulge much?

One recent Sunday, I found myself mildly hungover (one of the good kinds of hangovers, not the bad nauseating kinds) and my roommate, whom I usually share a bed with, was off to visit her parents.  Let's all just take a moment to breathe and recognize what a wonderful time this was in my life...ahhhh.  After a few glasses of water and a couple games of NBA2K12 on Xbox, I became painstakingly hungry.  You know, to the point where your stomach feels like it is scourging through your intestines searching for any reminiscence of nutrients and despite being a middle-class yuppie, you have zero reservations about exclaiming "I'm starving," despite never missing a meal in your life.  So I ventured off to the super market and did what they tell you to never do - go shopping while you're hungry.  Thirty minutes later I was back in my kitchen with 1 lb. of cube steak (mistake - pun somewhat intended), 1.5 lbs. of pork belly (opposite of a mistake), an avocado, a red onion, cilantro, and a sesame seed roll.  Like Captain Planet, the combined powers of all the ingredients created a wonderful, nearly super-hero like synergy that was only held back by the stupid cube steak - check out the results after the jump.

My nemesis - the cube steak

So cube steak (or minute steak for our neighbors to the north) is usually a piece of top round, viciously pounded into something so thin that you can cook it in a minute - those cheeky Canadians!  I had never really paid any attention to the this bottom dweller from the beef pyramid, and it was apparently for good reason.  As you can see from the picture above, cube steak gives off the impression that it may be ground, but do not be fooled, those markings are of the aforementioned tenderizing, not the work of a meat grinder.  This resulted in a lot of stringy pieces of fat making their way into my burger, despite my best bare-handed efforts.  The flavor was fine, but the texture just never felt like a burger.  Luckily enough, I had some other ingredients that saved the dish - namely the pork belly.

Pork belly comes like a thick slab of uncured bacon, and in this case, still on the rib bone.  I had never used it in this pure form before, but a little salt and pepper after carving some slices from the bone was all that it needed before going into the pan.

Pure porcine delight
After letting pork belly brown on both sides and render out some fat, I removed it from the pan, but left the fat in there to cook the burger - something that feels guilt free when you're home alone.  I seasoned my burger with some salt, pepper, garlic powder, and mixed in a bit of Worcestershire and panko bread crumbs.  I formed a patty with the steak to the best of my ability and tossed it into the pan to sizzle with the pork belly fat.  After getting a nice sear on both sides, I topped the steak burger with some extra sharp cheddar, removed it from the pan, and tossed it in under the broiler to melt.  While my cheese melted, I put the pork belly back in the pan and tossed it in some Bolthouse Farms mango vinaigrette dressing that I had in the fridge.

This gave the pork a nice sweet glaze to finish it off and gave me a tropical excuse to add guacamole.  The guac was a simple ripe avocado, diced red onion, S&P, chopped cilantro, minced garlic, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.  I assembled it all together on my sesame seed bun that I split and grilled.  Overall, the flavor profile was awesome.  The mango glaze helped cut through some of the rich pork belly and cube steak.  The cube steak made life a little more difficult, so in the future, I'll be sticking to ground chuck for my burgers.

Mango glazed pork belly burger with chunky guacamole and extra sharp cheddar on a sesame seed bun.

Ingredients (Yield: 1 - you're by yourself anyways)
1/2 pound ground beef (avoid cube steak!)
1-2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
a few pinches of panko bread crumbs
a thick slice or two of extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/8 - 1/4 lb. of pork belly
Bolthouse Farms Mango Vinaigrette (or dressing/marinade of your choice)
1 ripe avocado
1-2 tbsp diced red onion
1-2 tbsp of chopped cilantro
1-2 tsp of minced garlic
squeeze of fresh lime juice
garlic powder to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 serving of no shame

1)  Season pork belly with a bit of S&P and drop into a med-high pan, browning on both sides.

2) While the pork belly is going, mix ground beef, Worcestershire, and panko together, with a pinch of S&P, using your hands - and don't over mix it or the burger god will punish you with a piece of meat tougher than a Monday morning alarm!

3) Remove pork belly from pan once it is nice and brown and bump the heat up a bit.  Toss in the burger and sear on both sides.

4) While the burger is going, combine the avocado, red onion, cilantro, minced garlic, lime juice, and S&P with a fork, making your guac as chunky or creamy as you like (#sexual).

5) Once the burger is seared off on both sides, toss the cheddar on top and put that puppy under the broiler (take it out from the pan)

6) Drop the pan to medium heat and toss the pork belly back into the beef juice laden pan and mix in some of the mango dressing to coat.  Cook and toss until the dressing reduces enough so that it's sticking to the pork belly.

7) Grill the bun in a pan over medium heat (I like to add a little butter and garlic powder here because garlic bread is always the tits).

8) Pile everything together between the sesame seed bun and eat your face off - make sure to have some paper towels handy.

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