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January 07, 2011

Gourmet Burgers

Gourmet Burgers

This one goes out to J, who thinks my burgers are rad, and rates me really clever for freezing my patties before cooking (Not his exact words but I do flatter myself).

It looks a seriously long recipe but do not fear. You can just do the parts you feel like. There’s no crime in buying rolls; mushroom sauce is not necessarily a game- breaker and All Gold has served generations of families as the all- purpose T sauce.  Gourmet burgers can just mean using up all the goodies in the fridge and making them look pretty by putting them in separate bowls with silver spoons in!

For the home made rolls:
  • 4 cups stoneground Eureka white bread flour (Normal flour will do)
  • 1 sachet (10g) dried yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Lukewarm water
For the patties:
  • 10 ml ground cumin
  • 10ml ground coriander
  • 5ml ground tumeric
  • 500g ostrich mince (or beef, but ostrich is funky, healthy, yummy)
  • 200g picked oxtail- totally optional. (I had some leftovers lying around, so added it in- the result was the softest, yummiest, most moist-est patty ever. For the rest of my days I will always follow oxtail- dinner with gourmet burger lunch)
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cm ginger, crushed
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 handful coriander or parsley ( or both), chopped
  • Plenty salt and black pepper
  • 1 chilli, de- seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 slices of white bread, mixed into crumbs ( if you don’t have a mixer, just kind of grate the bread till its crumbly- improvisation is king)
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 sachet tomato paste
  • 20- 30 ml oil
For the tomato relish:
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 10ml olive oil
  • 8 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 sachet tomato paste
  • 1 handful basil, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 5ml brown sugar
For the mushroom sauce:
  • 3tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 300ml milk
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 200g mushrooms (portabello is nice), diced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Dash of olive oil
  • 5 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
  • Salt and pepper
For the filling:
  • 1 avocado, sliced and doused with lemon juice
  • A few peppadews, sliced or halved
  • Slices of mature cheddar
  • Some bacon, fried or grilled till crisp ( optional)
  • Slices of pineapple, fried eggs. Whatever. It’s your burger. So add any pickles or yummy things you have lying around in the fridge
  • Lettuce, washed or rocket (even better).
For the bread rolls:

    1. Place the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add enough lukewarm water to mix into a pliable dough. Rather add more water than less, as it is easier to add more flour than water at a later stage. Knead for 8 minutes. Rub a little oil onto the surface, place in a clean bowl in a warm place until almost doubled in size.
    2. Preheat the oven to 180 C
    3. Punch down the dough and break into small, equal sized balls, shaping them by cupping them in your palm and rotating on a lightly floured surface.
    4. Place on a greased tray and dust the tops with flour. Leave at room temperature for 20- 30 minutes, until risen a bit more.
    5. Bake in 180 C oven for 15- 20 minutes, or until the rolls sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
    6. Leave to cool on a rack (or serve warm, melted butter on warm bread= heaven).
For the patties:
1.      Place a small frying pan on the heat. Dry- fry the spices until you can smell their aromas.
2.      Place spices in a bowl with remaining ingredients, and mix well. You can fry off a little in a frying pan to test the seasoning if you’re as fussy as I am.
3.      Shape into equal- sized patties and place on a board or tray covered in cling film. Freeze for at least half an hour to firm up and prevent disintegration in the pan.
4.      Heat up a grill pan until smoking hot and add oil. Fry the patties for a few minutes on each side, then just before serving finish them off in the over for ten or so minutes, or until done to your liking.

For the tomato relish:
When I worked in the bush we used to call this shebo ( a Shangaan word for this tomato and onion- based sauce traditionally served with pap), minus the basil. It’s really handy to make double the recipe, because you can use the left- over as a pizza base or a pasta sauce with some crispy bacon and parmesan shavings.  If you’re lazy (or call it tired; overworked; rushed- whatever blows your skirt up) you can use canned whole peeled tomato instead.

1.      Get a large pot of boiling water going, as well as a big bowl of water with ice in. Slit the skin of the tomatoes wit a sharp knife at the top and bottom of each. Now plunge the tomatoes, four at a time, into the water. After ten seconds, remove with a slotted spoon and plunge into the cold water. Now peel them, and cut into quarters. Remove the seeds inside and chop the flesh up roughly.
2.      Fry the onion in oil for a minute or two until soft. Add the garlic and tomato paste and fry for another 2 minutes. Add the tomato flesh and simmer, stirring occasionally, for ten minutes or so. Season to taste and don’t forget the sugar. Just before serving, add the basil.

For the mushroom sauce:
If you don’t feel like making a b├ęchamel, just fry the chopped mushrooms and thyme with some onion, deglaze the pan with sherry and add a cup of cream and reduce till sauce consistency. Season and indulge.

1.      Place the milk, cloves, bay leaf and any onion – tops you have left over in a pan and heat until tiny bubbles start to appear on the surface. Set aside.
2.      Melt the butter in a saucepan. Remove from heat and add the flour. Cook, stirring, over medium heat for a few minutes.
3.      Remove from heat and gradually add the milk (you can strain it through a sieve or just avoid and solid bits when pouring)
4.      Bring to slow boil and stir for 5 minutes ( this cooks out the floury taste)
5.      In a separate pan, Fry the mushrooms in butter and olive oil and add the thyme after 2 minutes.
6.      Combine the mushrooms and bechamel and heat before serving. Season to taste.

Place all your fillings, sauces, a basket with rolls, bowls of butter, the hot patties and a big bowl with the french lettuce on the table. Now build burgers.

* Serve with crisp potato wedges (recipe to follow shortly)

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