Sunday, September 25, 2011
Like so many people born and raised in Wisconsin, for a few months every year, Sundays mean Packer football, and for me, Packer games also necessitate Packer snacks. Since I was just a little girl watching the games with my dad, the ritual of Packer football always included some kind of special (junk) food. I insisted that the first bite of the Packer snack be taken at the exact moment that the kicker's foot hit the ball at kickoff, a ritual I try (unsuccessfully) to enforce with my husband when I make Packer snacks today. Despite a cloudy sky and heavy mist in the air, I decided to grill up some burgers for the game, eager to seize the opportunity to grill one more time before the grilling season completely abandons us. These burgers are rich, savory, and full of delicious spices, almost a meatball sub in the burger form. Truth be told, I made these to use up odds and ends of ingredients I had around, but are truly worthy of purchasing the ingredients to make them for a special Packer (or Badger) snack. Serve them up with some fries seasoned with Italian spices and Parmesan cheese for a really decadent meal or some roasted vegetables to keep it on the lighter side, and if you're watching some Wisconsin athletics, a cold Wisconsin microbrew.
4 ounces ground pork
4 ounces ground Italian sausage
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 small or 1 large roasted red pepper, cut open and patted dry (halved if large)
1/2 small onion, roasted or grilled (if you have time), and thinly sliced
2 slices provolone cheese
2 hamburger buns, split and toasted
2 tablespoons marinara, plus more for serving (if desired)
Spinach or lettuce leaves, for serving (optional)
1. Preheat a grill pan or gas grill over medium to medium-high heat or prepare a charcoal grill (my personal preference). Combine ground pork and sausage, divide into two patties and season each side with salt and freshly ground black pepper, if necessary (your Italian sausage may already have enough seasoning to carry the burger). Add burgers to the grill and cook until internal temperature reach 160 degrees F.
2. While the burgers are cooking, spread 1 tablespoon marinara on each of the top halves of the toasted buns and place spinach leaves or greens on the bottom halves. Once the burgers are cooked through, top each burger with roasted red pepper, half of the sliced onion, and one slice provolone cheese, cooking until the cheese is melted and the vegetables are warmed through. Transfer to the bottom halves of the hamburger buns, top with the other half, and serve hot with additional marinara for dipping, if desired.