I found this recipe for Chili burgers on a portobello bun on 30 Minute Meals back in 2004. 2004...that feels like twelve lifetimes ago. Or at least the lifetime before Blockette and the lifetime before I could be any kind of reliable in the kitchen.
These burgers are nice and easy to make. There is also the added benefit of using this recipe three different ways. 1. Burger with mushroom bun. 2. Burger with regular bun. 3. Mushroom with regular bun.
This time we decided to go with option two, plain chili burger. The recipe calls for topping the burger with red peppers and cilantro/parsley. We always skip that step and add grilled onions instead. The smoked cheese isn't necessary either. Just use whatever kind of cheese you like on chili, if you like cheese on your chili. We usually use colby jack or sharp cheddar.
As I was gathering my mise en place, I discovered I only had a half of a tablespoon of Chili Powder. How does that happen? Usually I'm pretty on top of my spices. For some reason I thought that I had just bought chili powder last week. Nope, turns out I just bought cumin. They both start with "C". Easy to get the wires crossed right? (I'm sure my mom just said, "Right." in her head just now. At least she understands!)
Of course I was too lazy to go to the store just for chili powder, so I looked in the spice rack to see what might be a suitable substitute. I came across a container of cajun style seasoning and another of bangkok blend. Both of these were free samples from the Penzey Spice catalog. I thought either one might be a reasonable substitute for chili powder as they each contained similar ingredients. I let Blockette smell them and let her nose decide. She settled on the cajun style seasoning. It must have been a good choice as none of us could tell a difference from the original chili powder version of the burger.
Rachael Ray's Open Faced Chili Burgers
4 portobello mushroom caps
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, eyeball the amount
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, a splash
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it, plus extra for drizzling
1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons dark chili powder, a palm full
1 tablespoon steak seasoning blend
8 ounces smoked white cheddar or smoked gouda, sliced
2 roasted red peppers
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves or flat-leaf parsley
Preheat grill pan or large nonstick griddle pan over medium high to high heat. Brush mushroom caps with damp towel to clean them. Scrape away gills with a spoon. Combine Worcestershire sauce with balsamic vinegar, then whisk in 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Brush mushrooms with dressing. Grill mushrooms on hot grill pan or griddle for 3 or 4 minutes on each side, until tender. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
Combine meat in a bowl with onion, garlic, jalapeno, tomato paste, chili powder and steak seasoning blend. Form meat into 4 large (1 1/2 inch-thick) patties. Grill meat 4 to 7 minutes on each side for medium-rare to well done burgers. Melt cheese over burgers during the last minute or 2 the meat is on the grill. A loose foil tent will help the cheese melt quicker.
While the meat cooks, grind the roasted red peppers in a food processor with cilantro or parsley.To assemble, place a portobello cap-side-down on a plate and spread a spoonful or 2 of the ground roasted red peppers into the cavity. Top with a chili-smoked cheese burger and serve