an ode to the burger

Burger feed circa 2010

I had a mad craving for burgers in August last year. This was strange as I usually stay clear of the lot and in the rare occasions I do, I pick on them and eat the elements separately (or I just order open-faced ones without the buns). However, as with most of my cravings, I dared to be satisfied and seriously wouldn’t nor couldn’t be stopped until I did. So I went all out and devoured burgers as if they’re going extinct. Until I got bored and realised man can’t live on burgers alone.

The craving started again last month (didn’t realise it was that time of the year until a friend pointed this out) and to date, I’ve been having at least a burger a week. There are some really good burger joints in London and even when you’re in a gastropub, it’s fail-safe when you can’t make up your mind. If I don’t have any agendas in town, I enjoy having and making brunch at home during the weekends. Due to the cravings, my Saturday brunches have been looking like this:

Medium rare steak burger + melted/fried swiss + caramelized onions + oven fries.

I always always get into a happy mood after eating something like this and because I want everyone to be happy, let me take you through the journey of a really amazing meal. =) (WARNING: Pictures under the cut)

You’ve got to make sure you get decent burgers first. You can either get shop-bought burgers or go to your local butcher to make your own from scratch. Minced beef steak is usually a good bet, particularly good cuts of rump, chuck or brisket (enough fat to make your burger juicy but not overly fatty). You can of course choose whichever type of meat you prefer – from beef to lamb, from fish to kangaroo. In this case I opted for Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Ultimate Steak Burgers (£1.50/patty). Admittedly there are better shop-bought burgers like Waitrose’s burgers by Heston Blumenthal (£2.50/patty) or Tesco’s Finest Aberdeen Angus (£1.50/patty), but as I only have a Sainsbury’s close to my place, it’ll do.

Taste the difference is Sainsbury’s pretentious ‘better’ range
The patties are thick so I place them in freezer bags and pound them by hand or by a rolling pin to make them easier to eat (READ: no wa-poise moment). This makes them cook quicker too, just make sure you pound them evenly.

At this point, I put a non-stick pan on the hob and let it heat up. To kill time, I chop quarter of a medium sized red onion. My knife skills are horrible so they came out thicker than how I want them but it doesn’t matter because we’re going for the rustic feel here.

I prepare my spices. Schwartz garlic pepper and crushed chillies are staples in my pantry. You won’t see salt but I’ll always have heaps of these. They make a good rub for the patties for an extra seasoning, too.

When your pan is hot enough, oil it. I used a tablespoon of the Cotsworld Gold rosemary infused rapeseed oil I bought from the Foodies Festival to give the patty a bit more of flavour. Drop in a pinch of the chillies and garlic pepper so that the oil can take the flavour too.

Now you drop the onions. You want to cook them just slightly caramelized so that the natural sweetness bursts but is still firm enough for a bit of a crunch. I wait for about eight minutes and push the onions to the side of the pan.

I now drop my flattened and garlic-pepper-chilli rubbed patty. Cooking time depends on the thickness of the burger and how you like yours done. I like mine medium rare so I sear each side for about four minutes each.

Browning on the side

I left the other side slightly longer because I made chismis with my housemate but it wasn’t burnt *whew*. I top the burger with grated swiss for a slightly nutty taste with two minutes left on the clock. Once it’s done I switch the pan off and let my burger rest while I prep the last bits I need.

Whilst I do this, I also put my buttered white baps in the oven where my chips have been cooking for about 18 minutes at 220°C. I turn the oven off and just leave them in there for a further two-three minutes.

Assembling the burger is fun! This is it!

Et voila! Brunch of the champions =)

If you fancied a bit more punch, I highly recommend barbecue sauce and classic American yellow mustard. Sarap!

There you go. An easy peasy happy meal anyone can make.
Seriously, I’m no masterchef but making a really happy meal like this one is so gratifying especially after the first bite. Enjoy!

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