I am not your typical carnivore. Since my meat cravings are few and far between, I often eschew it completely in favor of fresh, delicate fish and gorgeous, seasonal vegetables. Having said that, there is no way that I could ever convert to vegetarian way of life. Nothing is off limits, and I know that there are days that only a 7 ounce steak will satisfy my hunger.
On rare occasions, my body wants meat so badly that I can smell a filet mignon fired up on the grill even before I reach my butcher. Give me a thick, juicy burger during one of my carnivorous attacks, and I’ll be your friend for life!
It doesn’t really take much to make a good one either. Get the best meat you can find, organic when possible, and streaked with fat to keep it moist. There’s nothing worse than a dry, and tasteless burger because there isn’t enough fat in the meat. If you’re worried about fattiness, don’t be – a lot of it drips away during the cooking process to crust the exterior.
As an alternative to putting cheese on top of the burger, I stuff it with cubes of strong cheddar – an idea that my burger-obsessed husband came up with. Not only does this add extra moistness (which is never a bad thing in the world of burgers), but you can really feel the unctuousness of the cheese when you bite into it. Any other cheese with a good melting factor – such as mozzarella or gouda – works well. To take it a step further and make it ultra-decadent, add a slice of extra cheese on top and let it melt when the meat is almost finished cooking (as pictured above). You’ll be glad you did.
If you have a meat grinder at home, pull it out and make the mince yourself. A good sirloin steak is great for this. Whether you make your own or buy the meat pre-minced, be sure that whatever you’re using is super fresh and from a trusted butcher.
Serve on a lightly toasted hamburger bun. If you like caramelized onions, pile them on top along with any other condiments you want. Take a bite and and get ready to fall head over heels with one of the best burgers you’ll ever have!
- 1 kg ground beef (I use about 300 grams low-fat combined with 700 grams medium fat)
- 1 small brown onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 150 grams mature (or vintage) cheddar cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes
- ½ cup cold water
- 1 small bowl of ice water
- Hamburger buns
Put your meat in a bowl and mix it well with your hands.
Add the onions, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Mix to distribute all the ingredients.
Add the Dijon mustard, and mix well.
Add a bit of the cold water, and mix until the meat gets sticky. Keep adding water little by little until it can form a patty.
Take a bit of the meat mixture into the palm of your hand, shape into a rough ball.
With your finger, poke a small hole in the center of the burger patty. Place a piece of cheese inside the hole.
Pinch the hole closed with your fingers. Take a bit of ice water into your hands to seal the hole. Note that it’s important that your hands be cold at all times, so dip your hands in the ice water as necessary.
Shape the burger into a high, rounded patty. Pat the burger until it reaches a solid consistency. Make sure the top is very flat to ensure even cooking.
Check to make sure that the hole is closed well otherwise the cheese will leak out while cooking (this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it will make your grill or pan harder to clean and flip the burgers).
Preheat your barbeque, grill pan, or frying pan to medium high heat.
Cooking burgers on one side for two to three minutes (depending on how you like our meat done). Do not touch it until you are sure it needs to be flipped over! If you are using a BBQ or grill pan, you can form a crisscross pattern by turning the burger 45 degrees before flipping it to the other side.
Flip the burger over, and cook until done.
Let rest for 5 minutes. Assemble and devour immediately!
This is why I’m not a vegetarian…
Copyright © 2016 Lidija’s Kitchen, including personal images taken by the author.