Oh, Argentina. I have quite a few entertaining stories from when I studied abroad there, including being trapped on a bus for 56 hours for a 4 or 5 day trip, being told to go to the hardware store to DIY a cast for a sprained ankle, and eating hot mayo on rice for two meals in one day. (Luckily the last one was only one day, but man were those two meals practically impossible to choke down.)
When I planned to go to Argentina, I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew about my living situation and a bit about the types of classes I would be taking, but I didn’t actually know much about the country or the culture. The one thing that I did expect, besides speaking a lot of Spanish, was eating a lot of good food.
It turns out, though, that food is Argentina is pretty boring. It is bland; there is no spice. Sure, they have loads of steaks, pretty good breads, and a ton of dulce de leche and gelato. Those aren’t foods that people eat often at home, though, and when it comes to vegetables and main dishes, the choices can be pretty sad. My host mom and grandma made some really good meals, but they also made some really weird ones, like the hot mayonnaise on rice.
One of the meals I loved but only ate a few times there, which we had only when my host mom was too busy to cook, was this burger/chorizo fast food sandwich. I only had it two or three times, and I don’t remember exactly, but I think that the sandwich is called lomo or choripan. I’m pretty sure it was basically a succulent burger made from chorizo, crisp and browned on the edges, topped with a fried egg, lettuce, tomato ketchup, mayonnaise and other delicious compliments. Eating it was messy, but well worth it.
Needless to say, I’ve thought about this sandwich a lot but never tried to make it, nor have I ever seen something similar anywhere else. Lackadaisically flipping through Food & Wine, though, my eyes scanned a page that said “Cheater Chorizo Burger.” I initially flipped on, but after a few pages it hit me– this is my beloved lomo/lomito/choripan! So I ripped out the page, made it, and loved every part of it. The juices dripped down my arms just like they did in Argentina, and the savory deliciousness took me back to the little kitchen where I’d watch La Ley y Orden UVE (SVU) every night. Although you won’t be flooded with the memories of your tiny Argentinian grandma telling you about her love at Matt Damon as you eat this burger, you’re sure to appreciate the slight spice and overall lushness of the chorizo burger. It begs for you to make it, and you’ll be happy that you did.
PS I did some googling, and it looks like there is a sandwich called choripan, which is a sausage topped with chimichurri served on a “French” bread, and there is also something called lomito, which is a steak sandwich topped with fried egg and other toppings. I swear that the sandwiches I had were made with chorizo, or at least a spiced ground meat similar to Mexican (uncooked) chorizo, but I was in Argentina five years ago so my memory may be incorrect. Regardless, you need these chorizo burgers in your life, and if you ever find yourself in Argentina, look for both of those sandwiches and indulge.
Note: I find that this burger is a perfect meal on its own. Especially if you make it 4 burgers– they are really big burgers when you make only 4.
1 ½ pound ground pork
2 ½ tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon paprika (I used Hungarian, the recipe says hot)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt
8 turns freshly ground black pepper
hamburger buns, for serving
ketchup, lettuce and sliced tomato, for serving
fried eggs if you so desire, for serving
1. Mix together all of the ingredients (minus those for serving) in a large bowl. Divide the meat into portions, and pat into patties.
2. Heat a grill or a cast iron skillet. Once hot, place the meat on the surface. Over medium high heat, cook the patties eight minutes, flipping halfway through, until cooked through and nicely browned.
3. Plot a patty on a bun, dress it as you like, and dig in. Have a big pile of napkins nearby.