The best burgers. I should just stop here and not say anything more and force you to go make them. Because they left me speechless. I am never making any other kind ever again. If I am making a meat burger, then this is what I am making from now on. You’d think you’d want a change after a while. No. I will never get bored of this or would I ever want it done any other way. You can make them and see for yourself. Until then, you don’t have to believe me. But once you have them and you are a convert, you’ll know you wouldn’t want to hear “I told you so”.
Someone I love very much gave me this idea, which they got from (drum roll) Gordon Ramsey. Therefore, the man is a saint. Why, why haven’t we, mere mortals thought of this before?! Also, this “someone” is equally a saint, to love me enough to share this big “secret” with me, that I am now sharing with you all 😀 The secret? – caramelized onions. INSIDE the burger. Yup. Simplicity at its best. And yet, the most simple things seem to escape us.
Also, I remembered a trick my mom sometimes does: instead of mixing in one whole egg inside the burger, she separates it, adds the egg yolk inside, but keeps the egg white in a bowl and coats the burger patties in the egg whites before frying them. Yes, you might have an egg white leftover, but it’s not like the burger will fall apart either. It gives the burgers a nice outside crunch.
I had them with a potato and jerusalem artichoke purée that I got from the LCBO’s “Food and Drink” magazine. I like jerusalem artichokes but they’re a bit pricey, so this way you maximize on the flavour by using very little. They make them with some butter and buttermilk, but mine are lighter, because they have a tiny bit of butter and 0% fromage blanc. (you know, I told you before, I can’t help you here, if you can find creamy 0% Greek yoghurt, maybe you can use that, but it won’t be the same…)
So here goes:
For caramelized onions:
1 medium-ish onion + 1 small one sliced in rings
1 tbsp olive oil
a dab of butter
salt and pepper to taste
a dash or two of sugar
1 tbsp Maille balsamic vinegar
olive oil for frying + 1 tsp
120 gr minced meat (I leave the mix to you, I’m sure they’d be excellent with no matter what meat you use)
3 tbsp oats
salt and pepper (eye ball it; I don’t bother frying up a bit of meat mix to see if it’s well seasoned)
dash of herbes de provence
dash of thyme
1-2 tsp chopped parsley
1 egg, separated
*the caramelized onions
For the purée:
500-600 gr potato
200 gr jerusalem artichoke
3 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
a dab of butter (the size of a die)
3 1/2 tbsp fromage blanc
salt and pepper
1. Clean and chop the onions in rings and heat the olive oil.
2. Throw in the onions, with the dab of butter and start stirring around on medium heat.
3. Add some salt and pepper and stir it in.
4. Once you see the onions, are starting to get some colour, sprinkle some sugar and stir it in.
5. Let them caramelize on medium or lower heat and stir occasionally.
6. If they’re not caramelizing enough, add some more sugar, but lightly.
7. When they start to get a nice colour, add the vinegar, but keep your nose and eyes away, because the acid evaporates pretty quickly and it is pretty potent.
8. Stir to get some of the brown bits stuck to the bottom and they’re nice and coloured from the vinegar. Let them cool.
9. Once the onions are a bit cooler, add them to the meat, together with everything else, but the egg white.
10. MIx everything by hand and make two burgers (one of mine was bigger than the other, but oh well… maybe you can make three small ones….!?)
11. Dip them in the egg whites (they’ll be quite sticky and want to squish so be gentle, they’re delicate) and drop them in the frying pan and fry on low (the egg white might make it stick) for 4-5 minutes (they won’t over cook) on each side.
12. Peel and chop the potatoes and jerusalem artichokes.
13. Peel and crush the garlic cloves and throw them together with the potatoes, jerusalem artichokes and bay leaf in a big pot with water.
14. Let it come to a boil, lower the heat and cook until tender.
15. Drain and cool a bit. Remove the bay leaf.
16. Purée all this in a food processor (or with a potato masher, but the food processor makes it creamier) with some salt, pepper, the butter die and 3 tbsp fromage blanc. (*it makes quite a bit of purée (I had two burgers and purée for definitely four people) so maybe half it?!)
A simple lettuce salad to go along is quite nice. A glass of red wine even more so 😀 I thought as I sat down that I would miss some mustard (I just ran out). I was so wrong. I didn’t miss anything. I loved them so much that I ate the salad and the purée first just so that I could enjoy the burger all on its own. It didn’t need anything. It is glorious. It’s so soft, the egg white on the outside gives it a nice crunchy crust, simply spectacular. I don’t know how they would work with the egg white on the outside if you wanted to grill them on the BBQ.
When I was making the onions, I thought maybe I should have chopped them instead of having whole rings, but I didn’t mind it one bit because the “strings” of caramelized goodness coming out of the burger were welcome bits of awesomeness! YUMM