Recently my husband and I took a little trip down to the central coast of California—a place I’d never really visited (a surprise since I’ve lived in California for 20 years!). It was a gorgeous, sunny, meandering trip filled with lazy afternoons wine tasting in Paso Robles and walking on the beach. One morning we decided to tour Hearst Castle, as we’d never been. It was both breathtaking and, well, crazy. And the long bus ride and stroll around the palatial grounds caused us to work up an appetite, so as soon as we returned to the visitor center we hightailed it over to Sebastian’s Store across Highway 1.
Now, if you have never been to Sebastian’s Store, I highly recommend it. They make colossal sandwiches, burgers, and salads. And they are GOOD. The downside is the wait. It took us an hour to get our meals. But at first bite, it was worth the wait. I ordered—and I highly recommend this if you go—the black bean veggie burger with the works: roasted Ortega green chiles, avocado, Monterey jack and cheddar cheese, and tomato all stacked high on a whole-wheat bun.
While I’ll never be able to re-create the amazing chili-spiked black bean patty that Sebastian’s serves, I decided to build a beef burger as an ode to this memorable dish. Laced with chili powder and with a sprinkle of sweet onions, the burgers are topped with roasted Hatch chiles and slices of ripe avocado and smeared with a swipe of spicy chipotle mayo (which you might want to put on just about everything).
I highly recommend making your own burger buns for the ultimate burger experience!
Recipe: Chili burgers with chipotle mayo, pepper Jack, roasted green chiles, and avocado
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo (seeded if you like), finely minced, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 2 1/2 lb ground beef chuck (ideally 85% lean, grass-fed, and organic)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 3 teaspoons chili powder
- Kosher salt
- 8 large slices pepper jack cheese
- 8 burger buns, preferable homemade
- 2 (4 oz) cans whole peeled roasted green Hatch or Ortega chiles, drained and divided into 8 equal pieces (mild or spicy)
- 2 large, ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and sliced
- Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct heat grilling. In a bowl, stir together the mayo, chipotle pepper plus adobo sauce, and lime juice until well combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a large bowl, gently mix together the ground beef, onion, chili powder, and 2 teaspoons salt. Divide the beef mixture into 8 equal pieces (about 1/3 lb each) and shape into patties that are roughly 1/2-inch thick (or as thick or thin as you like them). Be careful not to compact the meat too much.
- Brush and oil the grill grate. Place the patties on the grill directly over the fire and cook, turning once, until they are cooked to your liking (about 3 or 4 minutes per side for medium-rare to medium). During the last 2 minutes of cooking, add a cheese slice to each patty and place the buns, cut side down, around the outer edge of the grill to warm and toast lightly.
- Place the toasted bun bottoms on a platter (or individual plates) and smear with some of the chipotle mayo. Top with a cheesy patty. Top each with green chilies, then avocado slices, dividing them evenly between the patties. Smear the top buns with the remaining chipotle mayo and set on top of the burgers. Serve right away.