Burgers and Fries, Oh Yeah
I love a good burger… a big, juicy burger. Few things are more satisfying when you are really hungry. I like my burgers fresh and light, like Grill’d (their Sweet Chilli Chicken Burger and I have a pretty special relationship, we're tight).
Often burger o’clock will come a-calling on Friday night. Ben and I will be pooped (no other word articulates this feeling better than pooped, it’s true) and just want to collapse on the couch with a movie or some Mad Men. And we’ll be hungry. Reeeeeally hungry. Yes, it will be burger o’clock.
We tend to go for simple burger recipes. This is by no means to discount fancy burgers - my dad recently treated us to Heston Blumenthal’s Hamburgers (recipe links 1 and 2), which is far from your typical Friday night mince + egg recipe, and they were A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. I will post about it soon, never fear. But back to a more humble assembly of ingredients...
One of my favourite cookbooks is Apples For Jam. I love everything about it, the pictures, the layout (each recipe is categorised into ‘colour’ chapters, i.e. tomato lasagne is in the red chapter), the homely recipes and the link to family and childhood woven throughout the book. I cherish it dearly (it was a gift from my lovely friends, Deb and Ian) and often read it as an instant pick-me-up. Flicking through the gorgeous pages is like taking a brief stroll in the Spring sunshine.
And so it was no surprise then, that I took inspiration from Tessa Kiros’s Hamburger recipe when making our burgers. She uses only mince, egg, parsley and salt and pepper in her recipe, and so we set about making our burgers in a similarly simple fashion.
To our 500g lean beef mince we added one egg, a bursting handful of diced fresh flat-leaf parsley, a pinch of salt and some freshly cracked pepper. Some Worcestershire sauce would also be a nice addition. I love the requisite mixing that follows, smushing the beef with my bare hands. It’s so primal and raw and therapeutic. Some would say it is also “so gross”, but I like it. We then formed the mixture into 6 big patties and cooked them over high heat (not low, this is very important if you want juicy patties!!) in a non-stick pan with a little olive oil. Beautiful.
On this particular burger date, we just quickly ducked out to Bakers Delight for some plain wholemeal rolls. However I do prefer a crustier roll, maybe sourdough, when I have the ability to plan a trip to a more Artisian-style baker (no offence, Bakers Delight, I do love your capeseed rolls). I toasted these in the oven just before serving, and then spread the bottom half with tomato sauce, Rosella tomato sauce (always Rosella). No fancy chutney, just plain old tomato sauce (or “dead horse” as my Roo (grandpa) would always say …….why??).
Next I piled on cos lettuce, fresh tomato and tinned beetroot (we’re Australian, after all), before adding the hot beef patty. If you’re a fan of cheese on your burgers, as Ben is, then add it here so that it melts deliciously on top of the patty. This is a thing of true beauty. I am not a huge fan of the meat and cheese combo, so I leave it off mine. Instead I go straight to adding the caramelised onions (a must for me!), which I make by first slicing an onion very finely and then cooking it over the lowest heat possible in a heavy based, non-stick pan (to which I first add a teaspoon of olive oil). The onion takes around 20 minutes to really caramelise and cook to my liking – it is a commitment, yes, but it is so worth it. If the onions are getting a little dry I will add a tablespoon of water here and there. And towards the end (the last couple of minutes) I turn the heat up to get a more charred flavour and appearance. That’s how I do my onions, and they're pure perfection on top of a big, juicy burger.
And there you have it. Delicious, juicy, healthy burgers. Is it burger o’clock yet?
Oh wait, we’re not done yet. What goes hand-in-hand with burgers?...
I do love a good, well-seasoned thick-cut potato chip. Sweet potato fries are also a favourite. However if I am not wanting a particularly starchy side-dish, and want to reign in the kilojoules a little, I will go for a different fry (can I say fry? or is it fri? or perhaps it is frie? I'm going to go with "yes I can say it" and "yes you spell it fry). * Edit, Martyna (from the beautiful blog, wholesome cook) and I had a funny conversation via Twitter regarding which was the correct way to spell the singular of "fries". Fry was the chosen version, so we'll run with that ;)
"A different fry?", I hear you scoff? "Is there such a thing?" Why yes, yes there is. There is a whole world of fries out there, you just need to get a little creative. And I like to bake them - it's far healthier and still very tasty. Two of my most beloved unconventional choices are broccoli and carrot fries. Kale chips also work well (dice the kale up into sizeable chunks and do as you would for other fries, below).
For broccoli fries, I cut the florets (keeping some of the stalk) so that they’re not in bunches, and have more exposed surface area to allow them to get crispy. I will then put them in a baking tray lined with baking paper, and give them a spray or drizzle with olive oil. I like to season my broccoli fries simply, with just sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, but perhaps some chilli flakes would be nice too. Regardless of what type of fries I am making, I always add 3-4 flattened garlic gloves (skin on) to my baking tray (and give these a quick spray with olive oil too). This gives the fries an insanely sweet, earthy aroma and flavour, and roasted garlic is a delight to eat in itself. Yes, it’s true…Hello, my name is Heidi and I am addicted to garlic. I will then pop the tray into a pre-heated oven (200 degrees Celsius) and let them bake for 10-15 minutes (depending on the oven and depending on how crispy you like them). After cooking if I am so inclined, I may drizzle a little Colavita Balsamic Glaze (I heart this stuff) over my broccoli fries. Oh yeah.
For carrot fries I will cut them into my desired fry shape. Sometimes this may be long matchsticks, other times I like a thicker fry – I like to mix things up and live a little :) I then add them to the lined baking tray, give a spray with olive oil and season away. I love to season my carrot fries with sea salt, freshly cracked pepper and thyme or rosemary (fresh or dried will do, but I always prefer fresh). I will also add in the garlic, as is my credo, before popping them into a pre-heated oven (200 degrees Celsius). I find carrot fries take around 20 minutes to cook, but this again depends on your oven, the thickness of your fries and your personal preference for crispiness. I am a lover of super crisp fries, so I tend to be generous with my cooking time.
All you must now do is serve your fries alongside your juicy burger, plonk on the couch (you’re pooped, remember) in front of Don Draper (the suave, sexy, spineless bastard) and enjoy your meal. Burgers and Fries, Oh yeah.