Green chile bacon burgers with goat cheese

This is Week #21 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

I need to take a picture of The Infamous Pile of Snow because, sadly, it still stands. It plays mind games with me. I'll be cruisin' out of work on a beautiful day, excited to get home and spend time outside with my family. And there it sits, around that first curve, staring at me. I find it impossible not to look back. Then I ask myself a series of questions: What season is it? Where do I live? Will that thing ever go away? Then I turn up the radio, roll down my windows and hurry home.

If I'm lucky, by the time I get home, my husband is starting to grill up some sort of delicious meat or veggie for dinner. At this point I am able to answer my questions with confidence: It is spring! I live in Minnesota! The snow will melt! Let's eat!

This burger was delicious. It made me happy. I ate some edamame salad along with it, so that made me doubly happy.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange 8 thick-cut slices of bacon on the paper and brush both sides with mango chutney. I couldn't find the chutney and I didn't have time to make it, so I used Jalapeno Strawberry Jam instead and it was awesome. It was the perfect happy accident.

Bake the bacon for about 30 minutes, turning once, until it is caramelized. Let cool.

Rub a poblano chile with olive oil. You might notice that I rubbed two poblano chiles and two jalapeno peppers with olive oil. I don't like to follow the rules when it comes to chiles and peppers. Grill the pepper(s) over medium heat until charred, about 5 minutes. Transfer them to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Peel the skin(s) off and coarsely chop the pepper(s).

Brush the cut sides of 4 hamburger buns with olive oil and grill just until toasted, about 30 seconds.

Brush 4 large tomato slices with oil and grill until lightly charred, about 1 minute. Place the grilled tomato slices on the bottom half of the buns.

Form 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef chuck (we used venison) into four 1-inch-thick patties and brush them with oil. Season with salt and pepper and grill over high heat, turning once, until the burgers are nearly medium-rare, about 6 minutes.

Top each burger with a slice of fresh goat cheese and the chopped peppers. Close the grill and cook until the cheese is completely melted and the burgers are medium-rare, about 1 minute.

Set the burgers on the buns, top with the bacon and a handful of watercress and serve immediately!

It is spring it is spring it is spring!

Click here for a printable recipe!