Have you ever had a craving so strong that no matter how much you tried to supress it you eventually have to give in? Well this is what happened to me. I'd been craving for a nice juicey burger for a while now, well to be specific I was wanting a cheeseburger, but not one from McDonald's or Hungry Jacks. I wanted a real, meaty, juicey meat patty with some good quality cheese on on some really good bread. The craving was so strong that it must have had some pulling power on Ryan that when I just mention the two magical words "juicey burger" to him, he instantly starts salivating. The problem is, it's only Monday and we have to wait until Friday night to get our fix. For the whole of that week all we could talk about was these burgers we would be making for dinner on Friday night.
We actually made these burgers a few weeks ago, but as I tend to use up most of my time and energy cooking and eating and taking photos I am usually quite exhausted when I am sitting here in front of the computer. I seem to have more cooking projects and photos than I have time to blog. As I've said before, I'm not the world's best creative writer, creative yes, writer no. Not even a great photographer. But I love to cook and I love to eat and I love good food, that's all that matters.
So Friday finally comes and Ryan was kind enough to look after all the shopping for dinner as he was already going to be out and about. I was meant to look after dessert but because it was the week which we had torrential rains, I cowered in the safety and dryness of the office not daring to venture outside into the rain. Our original plan was to try and get our hands on some wagyu mince but because Ryan had spent half the day attending a funeral we had to make do with what he could get his hands on. I had planned to also make some homemade tomato chutney/relish but Ryan bought a jar of it instead saying that I wouldn't have had time to cook it. I didn't complain because that was sure one yummy jar of relish.
Ryan insisted that he wanted to use one of the recipes in his "The Food of France" cookbook for the burgers. It was more for flavour inspiration and guidance because after adding in bits and pieces of our own it turns from a french hamburger to one with an italian twist.
The recipe doesn't call for it but Ryan makes some fresh bread crumbs to add to the meat mixture to help it all bind together. We used one of the bread rolls and added some parsley and parmasen before processing. I find some leftover oregano in the fridge which was almost on it's way out so add some of that into the breadcrumb mix as well. It smells very fresh from the parsley and takes on a bright green colour, so gorgeous!
Ryan browns some onion and garlic before adding it to the mince beef and then the breadcrumbs and an egg are added. The recipe calls for a lean beef steak minced but it works fine with some quality premium beef mince.
Then comes the fun part! Using your hands to mix and knead the meat together with the other ingredients. I tell Ryan to go change his shirt so that he doesn't get his sleeves dirty.
Instead of fries with our burgers I suggested that we have onion rings instead and Ryan welcomes the idea. I decide to try a beer batter as I've had beer batter and read about beer batter but never tried it myself. I've also had hits and misses with getting a crispy batter. I myself am not a beer drinker, I've tried beer on many occasions but have never been able to quite "Acquire" the taste. Who would have thought that I would be cooking with it. Ryan also buys a mix of red and white onions for a bit of "variety".
It's pretty much just a cup and a half of plain flour plus a bottle/can of beer. As they only have Cascade in the house I pour the beer in a bit at a time until I get the right consistency. You want it thin enough to coat but not too thick that it doesn't crisp up as well.
It's preferable to use cold beer and you'll get better results resting the batter for a little bit before frying.
And the result? The crispiest onion rings ever! And the amazing part is that even after they had gone stone cold they were still crispy. It was hours and hours and hours later that night that they eventually started going soft. I think this batter is good for items which are not coated in marinade or covered in liquid/juices. I tried this batter again the next day to fry some of mum's satay marinaded chicken wings which were nice and crispy when hot out of the oil but as soon as they went cold they went all soft. Think it had to do with the extra juices/liquids flavouring the chicken wings and also coming out of them when cooking.
Once the patties are rested and you're ready to eat, quickly brown the patties in a pan before transfering them to the oven to cook, about 10-12 minutes. Top with your choice of cheese and some leftover breadcrumbs if you wish just before they finish cooking to melt the cheese.
Remember not to get rolls/buns that are too crusty on the outside. You want a bun/roll which will crisp up but also give way when you press down in order to take a bite out of the burger.The rolls Ryan bought were really good but proved difficult to eat once we toasted them and assembled the whole burger together. Ryan ended up pulling his apart and eating it all seperately.
Ryan and his brother struggled to finish their burgers. I finished mine with no trouble at all, it just took me a while to get through. I had a very full and satisfied belly by the end of dinner and we never ended up making anything for dessert because we were just that full from the burgers. And that was our burger fix, for a while anyway.