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Homemade Burgers

Makes 4 good sized burgers.

Ingredients

For the Burger

  • 10g (1/2 oz) butter
  • 75g (3oz) onion, finely chopped
  • 450g (1lb) minced beef (or minced lamb, even) do make sure the meat has a bit of fat in it, if not the burgers will be very dry when cooked.
  • ½ tsp chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

For the Mayonnaise

  • 2 egg yolks – use egg whites for meringues, chocolate or plain
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 dst white wine vinegar
  • 225ml (8fl.oz) oil (I like to use 200ml sunflower oil and 25ml olive oil)

For the Cucumber Pickle

  • 900g (2lb) thinly sliced unpeeled cucumber
  • 3 small onions, thinly sliced
  • 350g (12oz) sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 225ml (8fl.oz) cider vinegar or white wine vinegar

To Serve:

  • Ciabatta bread
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • Mayonnaise mixed with Ballymaloe Relish
  • Cucumber pickle
  • Or a bottle of sweet chilli sauce

Method

For the Burger

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the onion and sweat over a gentle heat until the onion is soft and very pale golden.  Leave to get cold.  Meanwhile mix the mince with the herbs and egg, season with salt and pepper.  Add the onions, and mix.  Fry a tiny bit of the mixture in the frying pan, check for seasoning.  Then shape into hamburgers, and cook on the frying pan with a little olive oil on a medium heat, turn over halfway through cooking, you might need to turn the heat down so as not to burn the burgers. If you are cooking a couple of batches of burgers, clean the pan between batches. While the burgers are cooking, split the ciabatta horizontally, and toast under the grill.  Then put a lettuce leaf in the bread, some mayonnaise with relish, and some cucumber pickle, pop the hot cooked burger inside, and eat..
  2. **NOTE When shaping the burgers, make sure that they are not too thick. If they are they will take too long to cook, and may get too charred on the outside.
  3. **NOTE If you like you can brown the burgers on both sides on the pan, and then transfer into a moderate oven until they are cooked. If you want them well cooked they should feel firm in the centre.
  4. **NOTE Don’t be afraid to experiment with the flavouring here.  Beef burgers are delicious with some chopped chilli and coriander instead of the parsley and thyme; or try adding some cayenne pepper, ground cumin and coriander to burgers using minced lamb.  These spicy burgers would be great served with some sweet chilli sauce which you can buy.  In fact: you can even put some (about 1tbsp) sweet chilli sauce, and 1 seeded and chopped fresh chilli into the raw burger mixture instead of herbs!!!  The possibilities are endless!!!

For the Mayonnaise

  1. Put the egg yolks into a pyrex bowl; add the salt, mustard, and vinegar and mix.  Very gradually, drop by drop, add the oil, whisking all the time.  You should start to see the mixture thickening, keep adding the oil as you whisk until there is no more oil left.  Season to taste.
  • **NOTE I often make this in an electric hand blender with the whisk attachment
  • **NOTE Mayonnaise lasts for longer than people think, easily up to 1 week.
  • **NOTE Mayonnaise is such a fantastic basic sauce, add 3-4 cloves of crushed garlic and some chopped parsley for garlic mayonnaise; or try adding 1 tbsp of Ballymaloe Relish  to make a really good sauce for burgers, steak sandwiches, chicken etc etc… Or add more mustard, and grated horse radish, and sugar (recipe above) to make horseradish mayonnaise: excellent with beef and smoked fish too!!  A spoonful of sweet chilli sauce is a good mix too.  The list is endless…

For the Cucumber Pickle

  1. Mix the cucumber and onion in a large bowl, add the sugar, salt and vinegar, and mix well to combine.  Make 1 hour ahead, if possible