Spanish Burgers Are Perfect for Game Day

I have always wondered why there isn’t a proper name for people who love Spain. Those who are fanatical about France are called Francophiles, but there is no equivalent for those who are serious about all things Spanish. If there was a special term for people who love Spain, I would be classified as one of those people. From drinking tinto de verano on a hot California day to visiting Andalucia every Summer, there are many ways in which I celebrate my love for the people, culture, and food of the Iberian peninsula.

When you order a hamburguesa in Spain, you’ll get a meat patty and bun with little-to-no fixings. While I respect the Spaniards’ minimalism, I prefer a burger loaded with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and cheese. That’s why, on my last trip to Puerto de Santa Maria, I came up with this recipe for an America-style burger made with traditional Spanish ingredients.

The patty is a mixture of ground beef with sautéed onions, peppers, and garlic. It’s topped with a roasted red pepper aioli, manchego cheese, grilled onion, tomatoes, and crispy ham chips. The resulting burger is somewhat messy to eat, but it’s super flavorful and hits all the right notes in terms of crunchy, creamy, salty, and meaty. It’s the ideal burger to enjoy while cheering on your favorite football team.

 Spanish Burgers

For Aioli:
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 roasted red pepper, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For Patties:
1 small Spanish onion, minced
1 green cubanelle pepper, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon minced parsley
To Assemble:
12 triangles of thinly sliced manchego cheese
4 hamburger buns, toasted
4 circles of grilled red onion
4 thick slices of tomato
4 large lettuce leaves
4 ham chips

  1. Make the aioli: in a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise with the garlic and roasted red pepper. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Chill until ready to assemble the burgers. 
  2. In a large sauté pan, over medium high heat, sauté the onion, pepper, and garlic cloves until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, remove from heat, and let cool for about 10 minutes. 
  3. In a large bowl combine the ground beef with the sautéed vegetables, the egg, bread crumbs, parsley, and a generous sprinkling of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix with your hands to combine, then form into 4 equal patties. 
  4. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill or place a grill pan over medium-high heat. Place the burgers on the grill and cook over indirect medium high heat for 7-10 on one side. 
  5. Flip the burgers and cover each patty with 3 triangles of manchego cheese. Cover the grill and cook for 7 minutes until the cheese is melted and the patties are cooked through. Transfer to a plate and let rest for a few minutes. 
  6. To assemble the burgers: liberally spread both sides of the bun with the roasted red pepper aioli. Top each bun bottom with a piece of lettuce. Place the patties on top of the lettuce and top with the grilled red onion, tomato slices, and ham chips. Cover the remaining burger buns and enjoy immediately.

Makes 4 burgers.

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