Chili Pepper Burgers with Pickled Green Tomatoes

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1/2  cup chopped green onion or finely chopped white onion
2  tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
2   red serrano peppers, seeded and finely chopped*
3   canned chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, chopped
1/2  teaspoon salt
1  pound lean ground beef
8  1-inch-thick slices bread or 4 whole wheat hamburger buns, split**
   Roasted red pepper catsup, roasted garlic catsup, or other purchased flavored catsup (optional)
4  slices Pickled Green Tomatoes (see recipe below)
   Sliced red onion (optional)
   Red serrano peppers (optional)

1. In a large mixing bowl combine green onion or white onion, bread crumbs, serrano peppers, chipotle peppers, and salt. Add beef; mix well. Shape meat mixture into four 3/4-inch-thick patties. 

2. Grill hamburger patties on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 14 to 18 minutes or until done (160 degree F.),*** turning once. Grill or toast bread or buns.** Serve burgers on grilled or toasted bread or buns with desired catsup, green tomato slices, red onion slices, and serrano peppers, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Pickled Green Tomatoes: For pickling liquid, in a small saucepan combine 3/4 cup vinegar, 2/3 cup water, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to boiling; reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Cut 1 pound green tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices. In a large saucepan cook tomatoes and 1 teaspoon salt, covered, in a small amount of boiling water for 1 minute. Drain; rinse with cold water. Drain well; transfer to three hot, clean half-pint jars. In each jar, place 1 teaspoon dill seed and, if desired, 1 or 2 small serrano peppers, halved.* Pour hot pickling liquid over tomatoes, leaving a 1/4-inch head space. Seal and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 weeks. Makes 3 half-pint jars.
*Note: Hot peppers contain volatile oils that can burn eyes, lips, and sensitive skin. Please wear plastic gloves while working with peppers and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterward.

**Note: To grill bread or buns brush lightly with olive oil or margarine. Grill directly over medium coals for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until just toasted, turning once.
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