Queso Fundido Burger, Guac Trio and Avocado Ice Cream – Top Chef Masters Night

Before he was on Top Chef Masters, I casually followed Rick Bayless on his PBS shows as he cooked his way through Mexico. After his appearances on Top Chef Masters K and I are kind of Rick Bayless maniacs. His food is delicious, authentic and, in many cases, easy to make and accessible. This burger challenge brought out the best in Bayless with his queso fundido burger and trio of guacamole (recipe here). Because of the guacamole, we had a lot of avocados so we also made his avocado “ice cream.” (recipe here).

I made the ice cream the night before in my hand crank Donvier ice cream maker. It’s not really ice cream because there’s no dairy, just avocado puree, tequila, sugar and lime juice. You just blend the ingredients together, freeze them and voila, ice cream. When it went into the ice cream maker, the mixture tasted strange — sticky sweet and a little off somehow. I was very skeptical about its potential as a delicious dessert. However, the next day, when it had frozen and mellowed for 24 hours, it was a bright green, creamy, slightly smoky, perfectly not-too-sweet, almost banana-y treat! Who knew? K brought the leftovers to work for his coworkers to enjoy and it was unanimous … avocado ice cream is weird but delicious.

 But before the ice cream, we enjoyed the queso fundido burger and a trio of homemade guacamole. What made the burger unique was the addition of chorizo to the ground beef and that ubiquitous sausage gave the burger richness, spice and luxurious fat without grease. We roasted some Anaheim chiles and melted Monterey Jack cheese over the top and neither of us could believe that someone hadn’t come up with this inspired burger combination before.

The guacamole trio included a traditional guac with tomatoes, onions and jalapeno; a mango jicama guac and a toasted pumpkin seed guac. K’s favorite was the mango jimaca version and the traditional version only slightly edged the mango version out as my favorite. Neither of us could figure out what the pumpkin seeds added to guacamole, especially since you couldn’t taste them and they added more dry than crunch.

And, because a good burger goes best with a good beer, we enjoyed some limited edition Summit Kölsch with the feast.

Grilling season is upon us. If you’ve got ground beef, add some chorizo and make your burger sir (or ma’am). It may just inspire you to “delicious up” other things by adding chorizo. Also, as you can see, we over toasted the bun a bit. Didn’t matter. This thing was so good it easily overcame the char.

Queso Fundido Burger

Guacamole Trio

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