What a hullabaloo – horse meat in the burgers no less. But why are people buying frozen burgers of questionable origin when it couldn’t be simpler to make your own from lovely Irish beef. Buy your meat from a good butchers or even the supermarket, there are not many horses trotting through either. You can buy premium steak mince but the cheaper stuff is also nice and the extra fat keeps it lovely and juicy. But the real secret to a really, really great burger is a splash of fish sauce. You know the stuff, smells disgusting and fetid, it is made from elderly anchovies after all, but its pure umami brings out the savory depth in foods and will make the best burger you will ever taste. So here’s what to do.
2 lbs minced beef
1 1/2 tablespoons Fish Sauce
1 teaspoon fresh ground Black Pepper
4fl oz good quality tomato ketchup
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sweet paprika
A good few drops of hot sauce or tabasco
4 tbsp olive oil
2 large red onions
2 large handfuls of crispy lettuce leaves
2 juicy tomatos, sliced
4 gherkins sliced thinly
6 slices of cheese
6 plain wholemeal rolls or sesame buns
In a bowl, combine all burger ingredients together, smushing the beef with your hands. Leave to sit for 20 minutes. Shape into a balls and then flatten into burger patties.
While the burger mix is resting, caramelize your onions by slicing them very finely and then cooking them in 3 tbsp of the olive oil over a low heat in a heavy based, non-stick pan. The onions take around 15-20 minutes to caramelize properly but it’s worth it. Cook until golden, sticky and just starting to get a little crispy and then add a pinch of salt.
In between watching the onions, mix together the ingredients for the sauce, adding the hot sauce at the end cautiously and tasting after every drop or two until your preferred level of ‘zing’ is reached.
Put the bread into the oven to warm while you cook the meat patties in a non-stick pan with a little olive oil over high heat, for a couple of minutes each side. Don’t fry them slowly or they will get tough and loose all their juicy-ness. Pile on the lettuce, gherkin and fresh tomato, add the hot beef patty and top with the cheese so that it melts deliciously on top. Use your favorite cheese but I like processed sliced cheese for a proper melty cheese burger experience. Feel free to mix it up with any other condiments of your choice, I like a few jalapenos sometimes or maybe some beetroot if you are a lovely Australian. Then the caramelized onions and pink burger sauce. Pure beefy perfection.
This makes quite a lot of big, meaty burgers, I often make them quite a bit smaller especially if I am serving them with chips and salad and shape the left over meat mixture into walnut sized balls which I freeze or put covered in the fridge and cook the next day in a tomato and basil sauce for a second dish of Italian style meatballs
And there you have it. Delicious, juicy, healthy burgers, without a trace of ‘my Lidl pony’ in sight.