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Mini Burgers with Smoky Tomato Chutney

Smokiness is delivered to the chutney in two ways: by charring the tomato peels before pureeing them and by adding smoked Spanish paprika. The resulting sweet-tart-smoky sauce contrasts nicely with miniature beef patties, made even richer and juicier by the addition of frozen butter before shaping.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. tomatoes, cored and halved crosswise
  • 1 small red onion, unpeeled, cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground beef, 85 percent lean
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, frozen
  • 8 small dinner rolls, about 3 inches in diameter

Directions:

Place an oven rack 4 to 5 inches below the heating element and preheat the broiler. Arrange the tomato halves and onion quarters, skin side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil until the skins begin to char, about 15 minutes.

In a small saucepan over very low heat, gently simmer the raisins, sugar, vinegar, paprika, cumin and 1/4 tsp. of the salt, stirring occasionally, until the raisins begin to plump, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Remove and discard the peel from the onion quarters and put the onion quarters in a blender. Add the garlic and charred tomatoes with their skins and process until a smooth puree forms. Pour the mixture into the saucepan with the raisin mixture, place over medium heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

Preheat the oven to 200°F.

Place the beef, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and the remaining 1/4 tsp. salt in a bowl. Using the large holes on a box grater-shredder, shred the frozen butter over the meat and gently mix until incorporated. Using your hands, divide the meat mixture into 8 equal portions and shape each portion into a 3-inch patty.

Place the rolls in the oven to warm. In a heavy frying pan over medium heat, cook the patties, turning once, until well browned, 2 to 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare, or until done to your liking. Remove from the heat.

Split the warm rolls in half horizontally and arrange the roll bases, cut side up, on a work surface. Top each base with a beef patty and then top with a dollop of the chutney. Cover with the roll tops, arrange on a warmed platter and serve immediately. Makes 8 mini burgers; serves 3 or 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Appetizers, by Amy Sherman (Oxmoor House, 2008).