GEORGE HIRSCH’S SLOPPY GIUSEPPE BURGER

A holiday weekend call for a burger, but not just any burger. Grilled slider served on a potato roll, with pickled bourbon peppers, an Italian style sweet sloppy Joe sauce, topped with crisp sriracha slaw with farm fresh veggies and a side of garlic kettle chips. 

George's SLOPPY GIUSEPPE a winning combination

Grilling a winning burger from the bun up takes time and the freshest farm picked ingredients. For my SLOPPY GIUSEPPE, the peppers were farm picked and pickled the same day, two months ahead of adding to my burger. I used a colorful mix of vine ripen sweet and hot peppers, and the vinegary brine was topped off with bourbon for added zip. The Sloppy Sauce is a homemade sweetened Italian tomato sauce, and the slaw—a mixture of crunch tossed at the last moment in a creamy sriracha dressing. With no compromise to the meat tossed on the grill, my signature special meat blend, and the only bun of distinction worthy for such honest “sloppy goodness’ is soft potato roll.   

GEORGE HIRSCH’S SLOPPY GIUSEPPE BURGER

Makes 8, quarter pound burgers.

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*weight before cooking

1 3/4 pounds ground beef, short rib blend, 80/20 lean / fat ratio

3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Accompaniments: Potato Rolls, mix of sweet & hot vinegar peppers, sloppy sauce, sriracha slaw, 

In a 2-quart mixing bowl, combine beef and sausage meat and mix with a fork, taking care not to overwork the meat. Divide into 8 or 10 equal portions and form into 3/4 inch thick patties. Use raw meat from two of the above formed burgers for sloppy sauce. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. 

Sloppy Sauce

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Makes about 2 Quarts, or enough topping for 16 SLOPPY GIUSEPPE burgers.

2 Tablespoons Olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onions, sweet red peppers

8 cloves fresh garlic, chopped fine

1 15 ounce can each Tomato Sauce & Tomato Puree

1 1/2 cups ketchup

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes

1 pint of IPA

1 teaspoon each dried basil and oregano

2 bay leaves

2 cups water

Pre heat a saucepot to medium temperature. Add olive oil and two burger patties browning lightly; add onions, peppers, and garlic. Cook for two additional minutes, do not brown vegetables. Add all remaining ingredients using water to rinse out any additional tomato sauce left in cans. Simmer for 45 minutes. Keep warm until topping burgers. 

For Slaw & Dressing as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

Vegetables: 1 small head shredded white cabbage, one 1/2 head shredded red cabbage, 2 grated carrots, 1/4 of a sweet thinly sliced onion, 2 cloves finely chopped garlic, and 3 chopped green onions. Mix 2 cups mayonnaise, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce, 1/4 cup sriracha, 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, pepper and sea salt to taste. Add dressing to slaw thirty minutes before serving. 

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Place the burgers on a hot grill and cook about 3-4 minutes per side, turning once. 

Serve on lightly toasted Martin’s Potato Rolls, first peppers, burger, sloppy sauce, and slaw. Serve extra Sloppy Sauce on side with plenty of napkins. 

Note: If you don’t see ground short rib beef in your butcher shop, by all means ask for it. Whenever you’re mixing any ground meat product, it’s a good practice to have the meat and bowl well chilled. Not only will a chilled bowl cut down on bacterial growth, it will help bind the meat. If possible, use a metal bowl for mixing the ingredients and place it in the freezer beforehand. If your kitchen is warm, place the bowl over a bowl of ice when you’re incorporating the meat with the spices.

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Spaghetti alle Vongole

Quick, easy and one of the most delicious pasta dishes outside of a good pesto. Afterwards, just sit back and enjoy a crisp Pinto Grigio or Rose like you're sitting seaside on the Almafi coast.  

The clams are the star of this dish, but co-starring is the garlic. You may also call this dish 'Aglio con Spaghetti alle Vongole.'  I've cooked this recipe for years using the sweetness of caramelized garlic, which adds a nice component to this dish. Yes, my family in Italy is shaking their heads right now as they cook with a very little amount of garlic. Go figure? But here in the US we've become accustomed to big flavors in our dishes. So get out my old recipe for caramelized garlic and make a half dozen heads, I guarantee you won't have any left. 

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Spaghetti alle Vongole recipe by George Hirsch

makes 4-6 servings

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1 pound dry spaghetti or linguine

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

2 heads caramelized garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 pounds Manila or littleneck clams, scrubbed and rinsed well

1 cup dry white wine 

Juice of 1 lemon

4 Tablespoons sweet butter

Freshly ground black pepper

4 Tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, rough chopped

2 Tablespoons fresh basil, rough chopped

Optional: 1/4 cup lightly toasted bread crumbs

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente.

Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking to toss the spaghetti directly into the sauce.

Pre heat a deep side saute pan or dutch oven; add olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes; saute for 1 minute. Add the clams, wine, half the parsley and lemon juice. Cover and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until all the clams are opened, about 5 - 8 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open.

Increase heat to medium temperature add the hot, drained linguine to the pan; add the butter and season with pepper. Toss the pasta with the clams to coat pasta with clam sauce. Top with chopped parsley, basil and toasted bread crumbs. Drizzle with additional olive oil. Serve immediately.

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Chocolate Pound Cake

This recipe is one of those cakes that gets better with age; meaning, it tastes even better the day after it is baked. You may not have access to Sag Harbor Rum for the simple syrup, so if you find yourself in a strange port use a good quality rum. 

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George Hirsch Chocolate Pound Cake, Sag Harbor Rum Syrup

Chocolate Pound Cake

Makes one loaf

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 1 1/2 cups cake flour  

1 teaspoon baking powder  

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sweet butter, room temperature

1 cup pure cane granulated sugar  

3 eggs, beaten 

1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon fine grated orange zest 

1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder such as Droste

1/4 cupboiling hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  

Grease a loaf pan with butter. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

In a small bowl mix cocoa powder into boiling water until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

In a separate bowl, mix cake flour with baking powder and salt.

On medium high speed, mix butter until softened, about 1 - 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. With the mixer on low add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after adding each egg. Add vanilla, orange zest, cocoa mixture. add the flour mixture and mix only until combined.  

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake on a center rack in oven for about 50 - 55 minutes or until done. To test doneness, cake will spring back when touched lightly with index finger.

Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Slice pound cake, serve soaked with rum simple syrup and with fresh whipped cream.

To make simple syrup:

1 cup water, 2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup of Rum, 1 orange, cut into quarters

Place all ingredients into a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for five minutes. Remove and cool.

Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake

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If you are planning to entertain this week or happen to be traveling to visit friends - I have the perfect host/hostess bring-along, or an outstanding dessert with wide appeal to finish a dinner. I created this recipe knowing it would be one of those cakes that gets better with age; meaning, it tastes even better the day after it is baked.

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Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake

Makes one large loaf, or three demi-loaves

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1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup sweet butter, softened

1 1/2 cups (15 oz container) fresh whole-milk ricotta, drained

1 1/2 cups Turbino or granulated sugar

3 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°F degrees. Grease and flour 9-inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, cream butter, and sugar until smooth and light. Fold in ricotta in three parts. Scrape bowl well with a spatula. Mix dry ingredients- flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter and sugar and mix just until flour is absorbed with eggs one at a time, scraping sides of bowl after each addition. Add lemon juice and vanilla. 

Scrape down sides of the bowl, mix on low speed, 30 seconds just until batter is completely mixed. Do not over mix. Over mixing will toughen cake and produce air pockets. Pour the batter into greased pan and smooth on top. Once pan is filled with batter, tap pan against table or counter to remove air pockets.

Bake for 45-55 minutes. After 40 minutes, lower to 325 degrees until done. Allow cake to cool in pan for 5-10 minutes. Remove from pan; finish cooling on wire rack. Top with confectioner’s sugar before serving.