Open-Faced Chili Burgers on Grilled Portobello "Buns" with Smoked Cheese

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 35 min
  • Prep: 10 min
  • Cook: 25 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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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 (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)

8 ounces smoked white cheddar (recommended: Cabot brand) or smoked gouda, sliced

2 roasted red peppers, drained, available in salad bar and deli sections of market in bulk or in jars

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves or flat-leaf parsley 

Macho Gazpacho Vegetable Chunk Salad, recipe follows

Macho Gazpacho Vegetable Chunk Salad:

1/2 seedless cucumber, also known as English cucumber

 2 vine ripe tomatoes, seeded

 1 green bell pepper, seeded

 1/2 red onion, peeled

 4 ribs celery from the heart, including leafy tops

 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves or flat-leaf parsley 

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

 1 lime or 1/2 lemon, juiced 

1 to 2 teaspoons hot sauce, for mild to medium-hot heat level (recommended: Tabasco) 

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball the amount

 Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. While the meat cooks, grind the roasted red peppers in a food processor with cilantro or parsley. 
  4. 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. Macho Gazpacho Chunk Vegetable Salad makes a great side dish.

Macho Gazpacho Vegetable Chunk Salad:

Yield: 4 servings
  1. Cut cucumber, tomatoes, pepper, onion and celery into bite-sized chunks. Combine vegetable in a bowl. Sprinkle cilantro or parsley over the vegetables. Combine vinegar, lime or lemon juice and hot sauce in a small bowl. Whisk in extra-virgin olive oil in a slow stream. Pour dressing down over the salad and toss. Season salad with salt and pepper and serve. 
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