Hamburgers with Chowchow

Chowchow, a vibrant vegetable-and-pickle relish, is rumored to have been introduced to the United States by Chinese railroad workers in the 19th century. Amy Tornquist's version is especially delicious because it has lots of cider vinegar for tang.


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  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 1/2 pound green cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped (4 cups)
  • 1/2 pound green or unripe tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 hamburger buns, split

How to make this recipe

  1. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Finely chop the cabbage in a food processor and transfer to a large, heavy pot. Put the tomatoes, bell pepper and onion in the processor and finely chop; add to the cabbage. Add the vinegar, sugar, celery seeds, turmeric, cayenne and 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook the chowchow over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until it's cooked down to about 2 cups, about 10 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, form the ground beef into 4 patties and season with salt and pepper. Grill the burgers until nicely charred outside and medium-rare within, about 3 minutes per side. Grill the buns, cut side down, until toasted, about 20 seconds.

  3. Set the grilled hamburgers on the bottom halves of the buns. Spoon a thick layer of chowchow on the burgers, top with the toasted buns and serve.

Suggested Pairing

Fruity, medium-bodied Merlot.

Contributed By Published March 2006

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