Sunday, 27 April 2008

Beef Burgers

There is a bit of a story to these burgers. About five years ago I tried making my own beef burgers as my friend Damian was coming round for dinner. I sourced a tasty sounding recipe and spent the day making ahdnmade chips and burgers. I set the table all fancy and made crumble for pudding. Now, I am not precious about my cooking in the sense that I quite like rustic looking dishes, they don't need to look perfect or as if Gordon Ramsay has cooked them. But I do worry about if they taste ok and pride myself on sending folks away with a full belly - satisfied in their tummy and their tastebuds.

Well, Damian and Andy ate the burgers but when I asked them what they thought their response was 'a bit bland - could have done with more seasoning or spicy-ness'. My confidence was dented and I was put off the idea of making my own burgers for ages. Then I found a really saliva-inducing recipe in my Nigella Express book and figured five years was long enough for the wounds to have healed. Again, Damian was coming round for tea, so I figured this was as good a time as any to exorcise the first unsuccessful attempt at burgers.

The basic recipe is (serves 3 if you have two burgers each - we are greedy!):

500g lean minced beef
3 teaspoons natural yoghurt
3 teaspoons soya sauce
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons carmelized onions

Nigella says to use a jar of caramelized onions but I ouldn't find any and then Andy pointed out it couldn't be that hard to make them - surely its just butter, onions and brown sugar? - he was right - after a quick search on the BBC food website I got a recipe that gave me the basic theory. As I like red onions that is what I used although all the resipes I saw said white onions.

2 red onions
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 oz butter (roughly - i just chopped a big bit in that looked about right)

Hat teh oil and melt the butter. Cook onions - finely chopped - until soft. Add sugar and stur and melt until caramelized. Add red wine vinegar and cook for another few minutes.

For teh burgers - whack the mince in a big bowl and add all the ingredients and mash it up. You want to mix it until all the ingredients are combine and the mince isn't 'squiggly' anymore but is like pink mashed potatoe.

I drained the excess liquid from the onions out of the frying pan but didn't wash it, added some oil, and then fried the burgers. This meant the flavours all got used up. Yum! I make my burgers thick - about an inch - so fried on both sides for two minutes then put on a low heat for 8-10 minutes. If you like it rare I would half that.

I just used oven chips as I was feeling lazy but I often make sweet potatoe chips or baked potatoe wedges.

For toppings I mixed grated cheddar and mozarella and sliced up some tomatoe - it was finger licking good and the boys gave it the thumbs up!

A wee tip - I get wax discs from Lakeland Limited - they are great if you want to make the burgers up a few hours or the night before and leave them in the fridge. The discs mean the burgers don't settle and stick to your dish and makes them easy to handle when you are transferring them to the pan. I imagine they are also good if you want to freeze the burgers.

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