Cooking as a couple can go one of two ways: either you get into an argument over how fine to dice your onions and you end up eating the finished product 4 hours late in complete silence (all been there?). Other times you take tips from each other in order to create something truly epic.
We’ve been making burgers together since we started dating, taking influences from our favourite restaurants and cook books, in an attempt to create the perfect home burger. Our burger recipe is the product of lots of different trials (and some catastrophical fails) until we had developed the perfect formula.
What to do and what not to do:
- We’ve used Jacobs crackers in the past (a la Jamie Oliver) – I don’t really rate this. They dont provide much flavour and the texture is a bit crumbly.
- I’ve tried raw onions mixed through the mince and it is horribly wrong. Onions never go soft if they aren’t cooked properly, and stay acidic and unpleasant
- We’ve used BBQ or Cajun seasoning in the beef mix before now. It’s fine if you’re trying to mask cheap mince but really if you’ve got good beef and plenty of seasoning, you don’t need anything other than a pinch of herbs.
- Don’t overcrowd the burgers on the griddle. Water will seep out of the burgers once they start to cook. If you fry too many at once they will start to boil and stay grey and wobbly. Also, if you’ve got a griddle pan- use it! That charred crust gives the burgers a smokey flavour.
- Not letting the burgers firm up in the fridge before cooking is a NO NO! If you don’t give them time and throw them straight in the pan, be prepared for them to crumble and fall apart right in front of your eyes. This is a marathon, not a sprint – give ’em time to relax.
- What’s CRUCIAL is making sure you shape them properly. They will shrink up when fried and what you don’t want is a big meatball lump in the middle of the bun. Best tip is to shape them a little wider than the bun. I agree with Hawksmoor who recommend you make them slightly thinner in the middle of the patty, so that they don’t shrink up as much!
Mean & Clean Beef Burgers
Now, when eating out as much as I do I try to eat as healthily a possible at home and I pack my fridge with nutritious foods as much as possible. I am also going out with a modern day bloke in his 20’s who gyms 5 times a week and worries about ‘bulking’ and ‘cutting’ like a teenage girl worries about boys.
This isn’t a ‘skinny burger’ recipe – that would be going against everything I believe in and everything that the mighty burger stands for. But all the ingredients are top quality and the fillings are all clean, fresh and nutritious. This recipe is good for when you deserve a treat but you kinda wanna still be a little bit good… if you know what I mean!
Makes 5 burgers
- 1 onion, really finely diced
- 750g beef mince (the best quality you can find, and not lean!)
- 2 heaped tsp good quality dried oregano, or Italian herbs
- plenty of sea salt and black pepper
- a large handful of breadcrumbs (fresh or dried)
- 1 egg
- 50ml water
- 1 red onion, cut into thin rings
- 5 of the nicest buns you can find (i’m not a fan of brioche so we used crusty brown)
- 2 really ripe avocados, cut into thin slices
- 100g full fat yoghurt (Greek or natural)
- 1 tbsp chipotle paste (smoked paprika and chilli paste)
- 1 round lettuce, or 1/2 bag of baby spinach
- 200g mature cheddar cheese, grated
Put your onion rings in a bowl and pour over boiling water just to cover them. Leave for about 5 minutes then drain the water and replace with cold. This will get rid of the acidic strong raw onion taste. Leave them in the fridge until serving.
To start the burger mix, add the finely diced onion to a frying pan with a glug of oil and cook on a medium-low heat for about 4-5 minutes until translucent but not too browned, stirring constantly. Add these to a large mixing bowl and then pour in your mince, oregano, seasoning, breadcrumbs and the egg. Now get your hands in and give everything a really good mix, kneading the mixture a little and pulling it apart with your fingers.
Once everything is really well combined, make into 5 even sized balls. Take one ball in your left hand and flatten into an even, circular patty with your right. Make sure there is a slight dent in the middle then place on a baking tray. Repeat with all the burgers, then place in the fridge and leave for around 45 minutes for them to firm up and hold their shape
Heat up your griddle pan until it is seriously hot (no need for oil as the mince should be fatty enough.) Place in your burgers (don’t overcrowd them) and leave them for a good 2 minutes. Next flip them over and cook for a further 3 minutes until both sides are browned with a great crust, and the insides are still slightly pink. Leave to rest while you prep the buns.
Mix together the chipotle sauce and mayonnaise and add a good dollop to each bun. Sprinkle over your grated cheese, then the onion rings, avocado and lettuce. Finish with a burger in each and dive in.