A Burger Even a Purist Could Love

I’m pretty sure I’ve overused the phrase “I’m a purist” when it comes to burgers. That’s because Andy is in charge of them in our house and I’d go so far as to say “grills perfect burger” is right up there on the “Reasons to Keep Him Around” list with “can do ponytails” and “knows how to set the DVR to X Factor.” His burgers — juicy, salty, loosely packed, and cooked to perfect medium-rare doneness — never need more than ketchup, mustard, a slice of cheese, and a pickle to be my idea of heaven. I mean, really, if there is a meal out there that does not need to be improved upon, it is the American Hamburger. Right?

And yet. Last week, Andy was away on business, and after going on a vegetarian dinner tear for four straight nights, I was hit hard by a burger craving. A beef burger craving. Not a turkey burger, not a salmon burger, not a tandoori chicken burger. A burger burger. I had some ground beef in the freezer, but no charcoals (not that I would’ve fired them up anyway, it was a late soccer night and there was to be no messing around with charcoal chimneys at 8:00) and, more to the point, no Andy.

So I went my own way: I pan-fried some patties and did what I’ve been meaning to do ever since pulling up a stool all by myself at Umami Burger in Santa Monica last year: I made my own version of their popular Hatch Burger. (“No ketchup? No mustard?” I remember asking the bartender/server, who gave me a look that seemed to say “You’re from out of town, aren’t you?”) Rachel, one of my nicer readers who knew of my fondness for the meal, sent along what looked like an official recipe a few months ago, but in the interest of time (picking up a theme here?) I disregarded half of the ingredients and stuck to the three main components: beef, American cheese, roasted green “Hatch” chiles, a jar of which I had picked up in Santa Fe earlier this summer.

When I say this was the best burger I’ve ever made, I’m not lying. (Note the phrasing: best I’ve ever made.) The whole thing came together in about 12 minutes, which would’ve been enough to convert me, but the girls loved them too. I was fully expecting them to opt for the ketchup instead of the chiles, but neither did. I texted a picture of the dinner to Andy, who immediately texted back “That’s just mean.”

Next time it’s burger night, I’m cooking.

Hatch Burgers
Inspired by Umami Burger

4 loosely packed burger patties, about 1/4 – 1/3 pound each, and mixed with a few drops of soy sauce
4 slices American cheese
4 hamburger buns (we used whole wheat, but I think potato rolls are probably a better move; there’s a time for health and this wasn’t one of them)
4 heaping tablespoons roasted green “hatch” chiles (We used Santa Fe Ole; but you can find green chiles in the Mexican aisle of most supermarkets)

In a large deep skillet, fry patties over medium heat, until cooked rare or medium-rare, about 3 minutes a side. During last minute of cooking, top each with a slice of cheese, cover skillet and cook until cheese melts. Slide burgers onto hamburger buns, and top with chiles.

P.S. I’m sorry about the kale overload these days. It really has become the default vegetable in our house and I promise to shake things up on the side dish front as soon as the godd@#m farmer’s market stops selling such good-looking bunches.

PPS: Thank you Rachel!


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i am beyond obsessed with anything even slightly mexican-based lately, so these would definitely work for me. oh and burgers, duh. can’t get enough.

Jen W

This looks amazing. I’m especially tortured since I’m writing this from the office, mere moments before lunch time and all I have waiting for me is a frozen dinner. Boo hoo.

Also…can we talk about those other burgers too? Tandoori chicken burger? Tell me more!


We love green chile in our house. Next time you’re at Whole Foods, check the freezer section for Schlereth’s Stinkin’ Good Green Chile Sauce (www.stinkingood.com). The vegetarian is my favorite! It’s the perfect topping for tamales and nachos. And I bet it’d be fabulous on a burger!


You’re welcome, and thank YOU. I’m putting this simplified version of the Umami creation on the menu for dinner on Sunday, and I’m excited.

Melissa@Julia's Bookbag

i’ve been on a red meat thing lately. maybe my body is trying to tell me something about my iron levels. but anyway, i’m SO there with this. or so here with this. The soy in the meat? and american cheese? and the chiles? It’s tomorrow’s dinner! (and just had some kale last week that had the most gorgeous flecks of purple in it.)

Melissa@Julia's Bookbag

oh. another thing: we made the asian sliders from the ‘Keepers’ book — when we ate it, my husband’s eyes widened and we both looked at each other and couldn’t believe how good it was. my daughter ate it in her lunch the next day, cold. They were UNBELIEVABLE. (we also added some mixed greens in our bun on top)


Green chili cheeseburgers are amazing, but not at all from Umami burger. Even McDonalds in New Mexico will serve them, and have for a long time.


I’m originally from New Mexico and love all things with Hatch Chilies! I think I might try a Veggie Burger with Roasted hatch Chilies in the patty and Hatch Chili Pineapple salsa on top…THANK you for the inspiration!