Tropical Pork Burgers with pasta salad and sweet potatoes

tropical pork and pineapple burgers

I should post this under “How to not take food photography.” Somehow in the haste of getting my food plated for my guests, I forgot to put the pineapples on top and the sweet potatoes weren’t out of the oven yet. I didn’t want to annoy my family waiting to eat so I snapped a quick shot and went on with it. However, I was really happy with the results and wish I had the completed photo! Oh well—next time.

I’d been promising my wife I’d make some kind of pineapple teriyaki burger and this is what I came up with. I thought pork would be fun since pineapple and pork is a classic combo. I wasn’t 100% sure about the onions at first, but they ended up pairing really well with the pineapple. I didn’t go heavy-handed with the cheese just because I wanted to taste the other ingredients. It does pair really well with the combo, though.

Tropical Pork Burgers (serves four to six)

Pork Burgers
1 1/2 lbs ground pork
3 stalks chives, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbs vegetable oil
1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Soyaki marinade (teriyaki or some soy sauce with some orange or pineapple juice is fine, too.)
Aged white cheddar cheese (optional)

Sautéed onions and pineapples
2 tbs vegetable oil
1/2-1 sweet onion, chopped
1/2-1 pineapple, chopped or diced
1 tbs honey

Instructions: Heat a pan with 1 tbs vegetable oil on medium-high and add onions while stirring frequently for about ten to fifteen minutes. When the onions beginning browning on the bottom (a little crispy is nice), turn heat to medium and continue cooking. When the onions are finished, prepare your pineapples. Mix your honey and 1 tbs vegetable oil together and toss it around with the pineapple until coated. Pan sear on medium-high to get some nice caramelization (maybe about five minutes, the water from the pineapples will cook out some so it may take a little longer—just don’t let it burn!)

Mince your garlic and chop your chives. Mix your garlic, chives, and a pinch of salt and pepper with the ground pork until it’s evenly spread throughout. Make quarter-pound size patties with the mix (it should make about six). I prefer a thinner-style patty personally. Brush your marinade on the top of your patties.

On a non-stick skillet, add 1 tbs of vegetable oil and turn the burner to medium. Place the patties in the pan once hot, marinated side up, and cook for about 4 minutes. After you flip the patties over, brush marinade on the cooked side. Finish the patties and throw them on a plate or a bun. Top with white cheddar cheese (I just grated it on top) and then the sautéed onions and pineapples. I like this knife-and-fork style just because it’s a little messy and it’s one less thing to buy.

Tropical sweet potatoes

3-4 large sweet potatoes, diced
1/2-1 tbs tropical sazón seasoning
1 tbs honey
1 tbs olive oil

Instructions: Dice your sweet potatoes into bite-sized cubes or fry shape. Mix your honey and olive oil in a separate dish then combine with your diced sweet potatoes in a mixing bowl until thoroughly coated. Apply sazón while tossing to get an even amount of seasoning throughout. Place the diced sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking 8×12″ baking pan and cook on the middle rack at 375ºF for forty to fifty minutes (turn the sweet potatoes at about 30 minutes in). Finished potatoes should be tender and I personally love when they start getting a little char on the edges.

Tri-colored fusili pasta salad

1 12oz box of tri-colored fusili (spiral pasta)
1-2 tbs olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup feta cheese (flavored styles with herbs are great)
1/2 cup diced black or kalmata olives
1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes
table salt
McCormick Pasta Salad seasoning, to taste

Instructions: Boil a medium pot of water and throw in a pinch or two of table salt. Add your pasta and cook until al dente. Drain your pasta and add into a mixing bowl. Add your tomatoes and olives if desired. Mix olive oil until pasta is nicely coated. While mixing, add a few dashes of the pasta salad seasoning until coated and then add your feta. Some prefer to eat it warm, but I like my pasta salad cold. Chill in the refrigerator for about two hours before eating if you like it cold.

That’s it! Pretty simple to do—took longer to write out, I think. Cooking time is about an hour to an hour and a half just because of the sweet potatoes. My suggestion, cook your pasta earlier in the day and just have it ready for later. For the time it takes the sweet potatoes to cook, you can prepare and make your tropical pork burgers with toppings and you should finish them both at about the same time.

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