Burger Week: #4: Mexican Cemita Burger

Halfway Burger Week at Arcisfoodblog! Keeping it international with a Mexican Cemita burger that I made some time ago. This one is based on the “Cemita Burger with Refried Beans, Chipotle Mayo, Avocado and Oaxacan Cheese” recipe I found over at seriouseats.com.

A cemita or cemita poblana is a popular street food sandwich hailing from the Mexican Puebla region. It refers also to the sesame sprinkled brioche type of bread roll that is used for the sandwich. A cemita is filled with layers of various fillings – usually sliced avocado, sliced meat, Queso Oaxaca (a white cheese), onions, pápalo (a herband salsa roja (spicy red sauce) and then a slightly compressed, much like a Sicilian muffuletta sandwich. 

Obviously, getting fresh Mexican produce, like the cemita rolls, pápalo, Queso Oaxaca, here in the Netherlands is nearly impossible, but luckily you can substitute them with more easily available ingredients, like brioche buns, coriander leaves and mozzarella.

This burger variety that Daniel Gritzer came up with has layers of refried beans, shredded lettuce, tomato slices, coriander leaves, a beef patty, chipotle mayonnaise (and whole chipotle adobados peppers for the brave/insane), slices of avocado and shredded mozzarella cheese.

What worked and what didn’t:
I served this burger on Chantal’s birthday party (with a veggie patty for her of course) and the 10 I made were gone in no time and welcomed with great enthusiasm. And rightfully so, it is an amazing combination of ingredients and we were surprised that only a tablespoon of refried beans per burger would have such a big impact. It brings it right into comfort food territory!

The Recipe (serves 4):

The patties:

  • 900g / 2 pounds Beef mince (preferably about 80% lean)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

The sauce:

  • 4 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp Sauce from a can of chipotles adobados (I used 2 tsp, see below)

To serve:

  • 4 Cemita buns (substitute with sesame-seed hamburger or brioche buns)
  • 6 tbsp Refried beans (I used a 400g can with some extra seasoning)
  • Iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
  • Fresh coriander leaves
  • 2 Medium tomatoes, sliced
  • 4 Chipotle peppers (from a can of chipotles adobados)
  • 1 Ripe avocado, halved, pitted, and cubed
  • 1 Ball of fresh mozzarella, shredded or thinly sliced
  1. Form the beef mince into 4 patties, season with salt and pepper
  2. Mix the sauce from the chipotles adobados into the mayonnaise
  3. Toast the buns
  4. Heat refried beans in a sauce pan, season and keep warm
  5. In a large pan on high heat, fry the burgers in foaming butter until they are medium.
  6. Spread the refried beans on bottom bun halves, then top with shredded iceberg lettuce, tomato slices, coriander leaves, and the burgers. Finish with avocado slices, mozzarella, followed by the remaining 4 chipotle peppers (if using)
  7. Spread plenty of chipotle mayonnaise on top bun halves, close sandwiches and serve immediately

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Suggested tweaks:
Chipotles Adobados (I had a 105g can from La Costeña) are packing a serious amount of heat. As there is not that much adobo sauce in the cans to mix into mayonnaise (as it really gets into the peppers), so I usually blitz the entire contents of the can in my food processor with 1 tablespoon of oil into a smooth paste. Really easy to dose, but I recommend to start with adding it gradually to the mayonnaise and keep tasting along the way. I ended up using 2 heaped teaspoons of chipotle paste to a cup of mayonnaise for a nice smokiness and bearable afterburn.

Verdict: 10/10, we have a winner!

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