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1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 chipotle pepper, stems removed
1-1/2lbs. frozen cherries
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup sour cherry preserves
6oz. roasted red peppers, with liquid
2 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
Salt to taste
2 large onions
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 scant tablespoon salt
Plenty of black pepper
1/4–1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
Canola oil for frying
2-1/2lbs. ground beef
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
6 slices jalapeno-habanero cheese
6 toasted hamburger buns
In a heavy saucepan, sauté chopped onion in oil until caramelized. Add cherry juice, vinegar, chipotle pepper, thawed cherries, garlic and paprika. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until chipotle peppers are completely softened, at least 30 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool. In a food processor, puree this mixture together with ketchup, tomato paste, roasted red peppers and cherry preserves until smooth.
Add sugar and salt to taste. Return to stove and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for another 20 minutes or so. Adjust salt and sugar.
Begin by peeling the onions and slicing very thinly; use a mandolin slicer if you can. Separate the onion slices and place them in a shallow baking dish and pour the buttermilk over the top. Press the onions down so they’re submerged as much as possible and let them soak on the counter for at least an hour. If necessary, stir them around a bit halfway through the soaking process.
In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, black pepper and cayenne, and set aside.
Pour 1–2 quarts of canola oil into a pot or Dutch oven. Heat to 375° F or until a pinch of flour sizzles when sprinkled over the pot.
Using tongs, remove a handful of onions from the buttermilk and immediately dunk into the flour mixture. Coat the onions in the flour mixture, and then tap them on the inside of the bowl to shake off the excess.
Plunge the onions in the hot oil. With a spoon, fiddle with them a bit just to break them up. When they’re golden brown (1–2 minutes), remove them from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining onion slices and serve immediately.
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
In a large mixing bowl, break up the meat with your hands. Add the chopped onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Mix until thoroughly incorporated. Divide the meat into six equal balls. Flatten them into patties and use your thumb to create an indent in the center of each burger. Grill the burgers, uncovered, for 4 minutes on the first side. Flip and continue cooking for another 4 minutes for medium. Glaze the burger with the chipotle BBQ sauce. Remove the burger from the grill, place in buns and immediately top with jalapeno-habanero cheese and onion strings.
Cook’s Note: The indent in the burger will prevent the burgers from puffing up while you grill them.
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