Yesterday I made burgers, and they were absolutely delicious!
The recipe was my usual simple one, with added inspiration from Jamie’s Insanity Burger – I love his idea of brushing the burgers with Tabasco and mustard as they cook – delicious.
Now personally I don’t think that the flavour of any burger can beat one cooked on fire – there’s something about the smoke that adds an extra depth of flavour – but I’m not sure my landlord would be overjoyed about me making fires in his garden! So a bit of crispy smoky bacon on the top has to suffice (!).
800g Minced beef
3tsps yellow (American) mustard
2 Large onions
Pinch of salt
Knob of butter
8 Rashers of smoked bacon (I like streaky)
1/2 an Iceberg lettuce
4 Burger buns (brioche burger buns or poppy seed topped buns are my favourite!)
100g Blue cheese/cheddar
Slices of avocado
First, put all the mince into a bowl and add the paprika, chilli powder, thyme, salt and pepper. It’s up to you how much you add of each – I went for about a teaspoon of each, but when I cook for children I tend to add only salt and pepper.
Salt acts as a binding agent, which is often unnecessary, but I find it is more effective than egg which I used to use.
Make sure that you mix the mince really well, else you’ll end up with one very peppery burger!
At this stage you can add any extras you like in your burger, such as finely chopped fried onion or a little cheese.
You can then make the burger patties – personally I dampen my hands and roll them into a ball, before squishing them down into a burger shape, but you can roll out the mince mixture and cut it using cookie cutters (making sure you wash them very well afterwards!) to get more uniform shapes.
Then put the burgers in the fridge on a lightly oiled plate, or it you haven’t go space gently wrap them in tin foil.
While the burgers are chilling make the caramelised onions.
For this, chop the onions into rings and fry them in some butter on a medium heat until they are soft, and then add the sugar and salt and a drop of balsamic vinegar – it is important to keep an eye on these and stir them regularly as you don’t want the sugar to burn, rather to melt and add a little extra flavour to the onions.
Keep the onions warm in the oven on a low heat.
Next, cook the burgers on a high heat. Add the burgers to the pan and squish them down a little with a spatula to ensure even cooking.
(A friend of mine swears by the ‘red-blood cell’ burger cooking – he pushes in the centre of the burgers so they are thinner there, and when they are perfectly cooked, the centre will have popped back out.)
While the burgers are cooking, fry the bacon in another pan.
After a minute or so, flip the burgers and add a little Tabasco and mustard to the cooked side (I used a pastry brush, but you could spread the sauce on using a knife, just ensure you don’t overdo it!). After another minute flip the burgers again and repeat the process. Cook for another couple of minutes.
Add a little crumbled blue cheese or sliced cheddar to each burger and top with a bacon cross. Turn the heat down low and cover the pan with a lid if you have one, or a heatproof plate or bowl.
Jamie Oliver suggests adding a tiny splash of water to the pan. This will slightly speed up the melting process.
While the cheese is melting, chop the buns in half and lightly toast in the bacon pan.
Now just to put the burger together! Everyone has their own special way of doing this – I like to put the burger straight on the bun, and then add lettuce, onions and bacon, and, if I’m really hungry, some fried mushrooms.