It must be admitted that I am not a burger person. Before a few weeks ago I probably had only ever had two burgers ever in my whole life, and I’m not exaggerating. I grew up in a family who didn’t eat meat, and even when I did start eating meat I never liked burgers. I’ve had the odd bite of someone else’s to see whether I might like them, but no.
A couple of year’s ago we had a Uni reunion in Bath – a group of about 15 of us hired a house and spent the weekend there. Mr Rigg and I were nominated to cook dinner one night, and so decided to do burgers – probably because Jamie Oliver’s America cookbook had just come out, with a recipe for burgers (and everything that man makes seems to taste delicious) and in theory it seemed like a good thing for a large amount of people.
Obviously I ate a burger that night, and I actually really enjoyed it. They were really tasty burgers, and I love all the extras you stuff in a burger – in particular I love gerkins. Fast forward a few years and recently I just really had an urge to make those burgers again – they were one of those food moments that stick with you as being a really delicious meal.
So we made the recipe, fried the burgers off in goose fat (as part of my attempt to cook using traditional fats – butter, dripping, lard, goose fat etc), which I’m sure made them even tastier. We also made our own thin chips that we tossed in hot goose fat and baked in the oven, before consuming sprinkled liberally with salt.
I am trying to avoid yeast at the moment as it sadly doesn’t agree with me, so I used two slices of good quality sourdough bread from Barbakan instead of a burger bun. We made up something similar to Jamie’s ‘spicy mayo’ that is listed as part of his burger recipe, smeared that all over the bread, topped it with a burger (well-done for me) with a slab of melted Farmhouse Cheddar, then some sliced gerkins and a handful of seasonal salad leaves I’d picked up from The Organic Farm Shop.
It was divine. For a girl who doesn’t like burgers and never has, I really like these burgers. We are planning to make them again this evening, so I thought I’d share the recipe for those minority, who like me, aren’t keen burger eaters. Because you must just try them!
Jamie’s American Burgers
Feeds 6 (we just freeze the extras for another day)
2 medium red onions, finely chopped
6 Jacob’s crackers (I just use whatever kind of crackers look suitable)
500g minced beef
1 tsp sea salt
1 heaped tsp ground black pepper
1 large egg, beaten
Handful of grated Parmesan
*Couple of notes – definitely use the amount of salt and pepper the recipe calls for, it’s a huge amount of black pepper but they are deliciously seasoned. You need to pop them in the fridge to firm up for about an hour so remember to consider this when planning when to make them.
1. Cook the chopped onions in some oil or fat for about 10 minutes until they are soft. Put to one side and cool completely.
2. Blitz your crackers until they are a fine consistency.
3. Prepare a baking tray either greased or covered with parchment paper.
4. Into a large bowl place the cooled onions, blitzed crackers, minced beef, salt, pepper, egg and Parmesan. Using your hands scrunch it until well mixed.
5. Divide the mixture into 6 balls (note: we did 8 slightly smaller burgers), squash into a burger shape and pop on your baking tray.
6. Pop in the fridge for about an hour – you can cover them with clingfilm, but we don’t have it so just folded the parchment paper over the top.
7. When you are ready to cook them, get your frying pan nice and hot (I use a cast iron pan so I melted a tiny bit of goose fat to ensure the burgers stick, but I imagine in a non-stick pan you don’t need any oil or fat to cook them in).
8. Cook your burgers for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
*At this point we had pre-heated our grill and popped a thick slice of Farmhouse Cheddar onto each burger, and bunged the pan under the grill to melt the cheese.
9. Assemble your burger and enjoy!