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Happy Labor Day! Relax and Celebrate with a Burger by Master Chef Rudi Sodamin

Today is Labor Day in the United States, and all the banks, government offices and most businesses are closed for the national holiday. Your blog team is taking a break as well, but we’ll be back tomorrow with more Holland America Blog content! In the meantime, why not celebrate the holiday with one of Master Chef Rudi Sodamin’s mouth-watering burger recipes as you fire up the grill this holiday weekend.

Beef and Pork Burgers with Pesto, Mozzarella, Tomatoes, and Steak FriesBurger3

Yield:
4 burgers

INGREDIENTS:

Steak Fries:
3 large Idaho potatoes, washed and scrubbed clean
1 cup vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Burgers:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons minced yellow onion
1 pound ground beef chuck
8 ounces ground pork
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 sturdy hamburger buns or Kaiser rolls
4 slices Bibb or butter lettuce
1 large red tomato, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 large yellow tomato, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
4 (1/3-inch-thick) slices fresh mozzarella cheese
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pesto, store-bought or homemade
4 basil sprigs, for garnish

PREPARATION:

Steak Fries:
1. Heat the oven to 250 degrees F. With a sharp knife, cut the potatoes into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Cut the slices into 1/4-inch-thick strips. (At this stage, the strips can be stored, covered with cold water, in the refrigerator for up to 3 hours.)

2. In a large, heavy-duty skillet or large sauté pan, heat the oil over high heat until a deep-frying thermometer registers 375 degrees F (do not allow the oil to smoke). While the oil is heating, drain and thoroughly dry the potatoes on paper towels.

3. Add half the potatoes to the oil and cook until crispy and brown, 6 to 7 minutes. With a slotted spatula, transfer the cooked fries to a plate lined with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a baking sheet, and place in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining potatoes. The fries will hold for up to 30 minutes in the oven while you grill the burgers.

Burgers:
1. In a small sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When it is hot but not smoking, add the onion and sauté lightly until translucent, about 3 minutes. Transfer the onion to a small plate and place it, uncovered, in the refrigerator for a few minutes to cool.

2. In a stainless steel bowl, gently but thoroughly combine the cooked onions, beef, and pork, mixing with a fork until just incorporated. Form the meat mixture into four 1-inch-thick patties. Place the burgers on a platter and cover them with plastic wrap. (They can be stored this way for up to 6 hours in the refrigerator.)

3. Heat a charcoal, gas, or electric grill to medium hot (when you can hold your hand 5 inches above the rack for 3 to 4 seconds). Season the patties with salt and pepper and grill them for 7 to 8 minutes on each side, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted through the side of the patty into the thickest part registers at least 160 degrees F.

4. Toast the buns, cut side down, on the grill until golden brown, about 1 minute. Serve the burgers in the buns with lettuce, tomatoes, mozzarella, red onion slices, and pesto. Place a serving of fries beside each burger and garnish the plate with a basil sprig.

NOTE: You can cook these burgers on a well-seasoned flat griddle, too, or in a large nonstick sauté pan over medium0high heat. The timing will be about the same.

Will you be barbecuing this Labor Day? Tell us how you’ll be celebrating the holiday if you live in the United States!

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