Tuesday, 1 September 2009

The Ultimate Burger

You need a few things to make up the perfect burger:
1. The right meat.
Just now I favour chuck, carefully de-sinewed and coarsely minced.
2. The right bun.
Supermarket ones are ridiculous in every sense; I like the idea of brioche buns but haven't yet found one to convince me and an old-fashioned floury bun somehow doesn't hit the right note for a thick own-made rare-cooked piece of beef. Try these - Tortano rolls from The Flour Station.
3. The right topping.
Hmm... tricky one. I dithered for years between the mayo-ketchup combo with fresh sliced tomatoes and a little lettuce, gherkin and melted cheese and blue cheese-mustard-with a tad of onion marmalade occasionally. Both are/were good. The one below's better.
4. Inspiration.
It's not enough to just fancy a burger - for it to be good, you've got to put love, effort, quality into it, otherwise you may as well bugger off to McB King. And occasionally it's enough to read something completely drool-inducingly inspiring - Let me introduce the Bobcat Burger from Helen Graves' Food Stories blog. People, this is our model.

I use about 120g per burger and add simply salt and pepper before rounding it to a thick patty. The reason I like my burgers thicker rather than flatter is that I like them rare and this gives you more margin for error what with the essential resting period.

Cook the burgers preferably in a heavy-based sauteuse, until done to just under your liking. Probably about 2-3 mins per side if rare. Take them out, cover with foil and leave to rest. Then melt a knob of butter in the pan and add a green chilli, sliced and de-seeded (if like me, you want a little heat but more flavour) and about 100ml hot chicken stock. Fry the little chillies in the mixture until the liquid has reduced a bit. Tip in any resting juices from the burgers.

Tip this mixture carefully over the burgers, making sure the chillies perch on the burger, then cover with lots of finely-sliced cheese - I had Jarlsberg, because that's what I could find, but try Gruyere - point is, you want something relatively mild, but that sticks the chillies to the burger. Flash under a hot grill to make the cheese ooze.

Manoeuvre into a split Tortano bun and devour. The buns themselves are very filling so you might not need the handful of home-made potato wedges I made to accompany this. We are simply piggies.

As Helen points out, these come courtesy of The Meat Wagon who tours around, but he's in The States at the mo, learning more on the perfect burger - experiment with this while he's refining his dark arts.

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