I know I wrote with some conviction about how great vegetarian roast vegetable burgers are, but then I remembered these beauties. Though I do still believe that roast vegetable burgers are better than your average garden variety beefburger, these apple and blue cheese beefburgers rather take the biscuit overall.
I understand the backlash against “posh” burgers. I know that some people just want meat and bread, but if that’s what you’re after you’re much better off going with a steak sandwich or something similar. At least then it’s all one cut rather than the anatomical run-off of the abattoir. That’s actually quite unfair, but the food standards agency did once find a sample of mince that contained 32.3g of fat for every 100g, which is frankly nauseating. I’d recommend sticking with either stuff from the butchers or, at the very least, the lean or extra lean mince you can pick up in supermarkets.
The great thing about a burger is its versatility. Because it’s made from mince meat, you can put pretty much whatever you want in it. There’s a little place on the Cowley Road in Oxford (my hometown) where they even have a burger which contains a whole Camembert. Whilst that’s a little rich even for me, a little cheese adds a new texture and perfectly compliments the red meat of beef.
To deny a burger some well-considered additions is like refusing to watch any film that’s filmed in glorious technicolour because it’s a bit posh. Don’t do yourself, or it, a disservice. And remember, the problem with gastropub burgers isn’t the food, it’s the price. This can be made fantastically cheaply if you get your ingredients from the right sources and don’t waste anything.
Stroke my thigh, tickle my neck and whisper in my ear. Just don’t try and kiss me, I’m eating.
Apple and Gorgonzola Beefburgers
- About 600g lean or extra-lean beef mince
- One apple, de-cored and roughly chopped
- One clove garlic, finely chopped
- One white onion, finely chopped
- 150g-ish of gorgonzola
- A big knob of butter, diced
- One egg, beaten
- Fresh chopped sage (dried stuff will be alright but the fresh leaves really make this sing)
- Fresh chopped oregano
- Salt and pepper
Heat the butter in a heavy bottomed pan. Once it’s melted and bubbling a little, but before it starts to brown, add the apple chunks and onion and stir to coat in the hot butter. Keep frying until the apples colour a little and the onions are soft and translucent. Remove from the pan and place on kitchen towel to cool and soak up some of the fat.
In a bowl combine the mince, chopped garlic, egg, herbs, crumbled gorgonzola and a little Tabasco. Add the apples and onions and mush about with your hands a bit. At this point the mixture will be very sticky and a little bit gross. I used to be very precious about getting involved with my hands but someone once convinced me to get stuck in and I never looked back, despite the fact that she also used to eat mud and had worms once.
Bit by bit add the breadcrumbs until you can form a fairly solid patty with the mixture. Make the patties by rolling balls of the mixture between your hands whilst pushing them together. The mixture will stick to your hands less if you rinse your hands in cold water before each patty. Heat a good glug of oil in a big pan over a medium heat and coat each patty lightly in flour before carefully placing in the oil. I like my burgers crisp and dark on the outside whilst retaining a little colour on the inside. It’s a fine line between overcooking these burgers and making sure they don’t just fall apart when you take them out of the pan, but the best way to tell is by pressing down on them with a spatula and checking that no pieces of the burger fall away.
I think it’s best to just lightly toast the burger buns and have the burgers without sauces, but I’m a terrible snob and purist, so go ahead and slather whatever you fancy on top. Drink beer or something muscular and red, but most importantly eat with friends or someone you want money from. The look on their faces when they take their first bite is pretty much unmissable.