Thanks again to Alex for his guest post. This time he shares his recipe for burger and chips.
I’m back again….
The other day Tandy dropped a VERY broad hint that I needed to cater for the Canadian GP and that, furthermore, Burgers and Chips would be the perfect meal. I mean… huh? How is Burger and chips Canadian themed? other than it’s close to ‘Merica? I mean, the Canadians are of FRENCH descent!
I think it was because she wants to check out my latest toy, which is an airfryer. It’s BRILLIANT!!! but more about that later, because burgers are a serious business.
I always make my own burgers because it’s just so much better, but I took some time at the shop today to compare premade burgers with homemade ones to illustrate why ‘cheap’ is so bloody expensive.
SO – no names mentioned, but I checked out 2 brands of frozen burgers. Both were around R40 for a 600g package, which is R66/kg, which, on the face if it is cheap. HOWEVER – contents – 37%Beef, 35% Soya or ‘cereal’, some herbs and MSG, the balance is added water – about 25%!!! That means you are actually buying 450g of product which works out about R88/kilo for mixed ‘beef’ and soya or cereal of some kind. you can buy Rump for the same price… I mean.. come on, it’s a no brainer…
so this is why you end up with a shrivelled up bit of boiled nastiness when you cook those… and I’d like to add, it says beef, but it doesn’t say WHICH bit of the cow it is.. I love offal, I am not prejudiced, but a burger is not supposed to be made from Offal… nor Soya… nor anything but BEEF STEAK!!
So, I buy coarsely ground steak mince from the Namibian butchery up the road. first of all, it’s free range, and you CAN taste the difference. it’s got texture – burgers are not meant to be like baby food… and it’s aged a little before mincing , so you aren’t paying for a bag of blood. and they don’t add water to bulk it up. It’s lean but still has some fat in it, to keep the flavour and keep it moist. it’s R83/kg and when I’m finished cooking it, it will still be a kg of meat… so actually – it’s CHEAP!!!
My li’l girl makes the burgers these days, and here is how we do it:
Take some good beef steak mince – allow 200g per person or 300g f you want big ones… the below is for 1.2kg…
add 2 egg yolks
about 50g of bread crumbs to make it all sticky. (the more ‘wet’ your mince is, the more you’ll need to bind it into shape)
you can also add some spice – Gina adds some of her friend’s “macspice” to it , which is really just bbq spice, brown sugar and some MSG. couple of teaspoons, but it’s not really needed.
mix that lot together well with your hands.
divide it up and shape into as many burgers as you want. make them about 30mm thick and round. end of it. we ended up with 6 nice 200g burgers…
it’s that simple, why on earth anyone buys packaged burgers I cannot say, it’s takes about 1 minute!
anyway – stick them in the fridge for 2 hours or so, make up your relish and toppings in the meantime….
300g of Red Onions, sliced
300g of Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
tablespoon of Olive oil
2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
1 tablespoon Honey (or brown sugar)
4 tablespoons of water
50g of butter
Sweat the onions in the Olive oil (NOT burn them. sweat them. cook over a low heat until they are soft….) once soft, put in the garlic and tomatoes and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, add the Balsamic and Honey and allow it to come to the bubble, then put in the water. let it cook down for 10 to 15 minutes, until the water has cooked off and the sauce is sticky.
leave it to stand for an hour or so – once you are ready to serve just warm it up and stir in the butter to finish it off.
Clearly, this can be whatever you like. I’m doing panfried mushrooms with butter and bluecheese… the kids don’t do Mushrooms so they’ll have bacon and feta, which is also delicious, but – whatever. Plain burgers are good. Brie and Fig? Fondue style cheese sauce? Grilled Cheddar? mustard sauce? lots of options!!!
Mushroom and blue cheese sauce is very easy:
Punnet of mushrooms, quartered
100ml of cream
125g of blue cheese, cut into 10mm cubes.
Fry the mushrooms in the butter.
take them off the heat, they can stand for 30 minutes or so while you get the rest ready.
5 minutes before you want to serve the burgers, stir in the cream and let it bubble away and thicken a little. Take it off the heat and stir in the blue cheese, don’t let it melt in, just leave it as melty chunks…
Stuff for the bun:
you’ll need Sesame buns, not too crispy.
THINLY Sliced Salad Tomatoes
Now we can talk about the AirFryer.
I’m British, so chips are a traditional meal, but I HATE deep fat fryers. filthy things. everything in your house gets covered in a layer of sticky nastiness, you have to clean it every third or fourth time you turn it on, and it’s a horrible dirty job. Plus, you can’t get the oil hot enough with a home fryer so your food is oily. . AND you have to toss away R50 of oil every time you clean it. I got one, used it a couple of times and it now lives in the farthest corner of the deepest cupboard – never to see the counter top again.
If we occasionally had something fried , I’d just do it in the wok on the stove top.
THEN Tandy convinced me to buy a Airfryer. Now, while you might think there was something altruistic about that, to save my poor heart, or to help me lose the lard about my middle, after all it’s a VERY healthy way of eating – No. that wasn’t it – but at least she was honest about it, and said that she wanted me to get one so that she could see if it was worth it.
So, yeah, guinea pig here got to spring fourteen hundred bucks on one to see if its worth owning one…
Well, I got the Phillips one and it’s EXCELLENT. It’s actually just a small oven fitted with a REALLY powerful fan and heater. The hot air blows around the ducts and the food actually ‘floats’ in the air current and cooks like it’s actually been deep fried, because the air is at 200degrees, not the oven.
Obviously – battered foods won’t work, but thats okay, Tempura is done in a wok! I’ve done crumbed chicken pieces in it, made veggie chips as well as potato chips and they are actually better than deep fried. no mess, no fuss, you wipe it out with a kitchen towel when you are done… Brilliant. Healthy, clean, Tasty… pity the people at Phillips have absolutely no sense of style. It’s just an ugly plastic thing. REALLY ugly. I mean, LOOK at it. sheesh. Surely they could do a decent looking one? Please Phillips, if you are reading this, find someone Italian to design an attractive one….
today it’s just chips, and you can make your own, but oven chips actually come out really nicely in an air fryer. I know, I couldn’t believe it either, usually they are horrible, but they get cooked all round in an air fryer and are REALLY good and a lot less fuss.
set the fryer to 200 and put the chips in the basket and set the timer. shake it a few times along the way. it goes ping when they are done. Gina puts a chip spice on – any of the commercial ones will do, or you can make up your own…
Really Easy – this is a fantastic product, well worth getting one. I don’t work for Phillips by the way. You can tell, If I did it would be attractive as well as being functional….
Assembling the burgers….
Put your big pan for the burgers on to a medium heat with a little olive oil. the trick here is that you want them to develop a nice crust on the top and bottom and be medium rare in the middle. Treat it like a steak, with love…
they’ll want 5 to 8 minutes a side, and they’ll want to rest for a few minutes before you serve them, so put your chips on to start cooking as you put the burgers on.
While they are cooking, split your buns and toast the inside only – this is to stop the sauce making the bun soggy.
get your relish and topping reheated, don’t forget the knob of butter for the relish!!!
I was told many years ago by the proprietor of Black Steer that a real burger is built. not made.
So -put the bottom of the bun on the plate and start building!!
put a few leaves of rocket on the bun,
thinly sliced tomato
couple of gherkin slices
Big spoonful of relish
Top with the Mushrooms and Blue Cheese
It’s always a pity to cover all that deliciousness with the top of the bun, so leave it on the side.
Portion of chips on the side… delicious!
Condiments on the table – usual salt and pepper and, yes, Tomato sauce. It’s the one meal it’s permissible to have Tomato sauce with…
This whole meal cost less than R180 (without the craft beer) – or R30 a head – a lot less than a burger from a fast food chain and it’s huge by comparison, it is not a great deal of effort or skill required for a FAR better result …
Drinks – you don’t do wine with Burgers. you do Beer. Fortunately I was at Triggerfish yesterday, I reckon the Ocean Potion is the drink of choice here…
Now – after this, my daughter made us a baked chocolate cheesecake. Beyond any shadow of a doubt, the BEST, most decadent baked chocolate cheesecake I’ve ever had. I don’t even like pudding but this was superb… we had to fight Dave off it or he’d have exploded!!!
I’m trying to persuade her to tell us how, but in the meantime here is a pikchoor…
Plus – Fonsi got a well deserved second at Canada – so it was a REALLY great Evening!!!