Saturday, 12 March 2011

Cheese & Pickle Burgers

Cheese & Pickle makes for a pretty formidable partnership. Fact. 
The two just kinda go hand in hand don't they?

Sometimes, living in a foreign country, you get a bit homesick and you just want to eat food that reminds you of home. Nothing fancy, just something takes you back for a moment and for me that something is cheese and pickle. What could be more British and comforting than that? And not fancy schmancy pickle. Oh no, I'm talking about the good old Branston variety. And imagine how excited I was when I found some in one of the supermarkets here! OK, so it was a 10 mile round trip on my bike to get my hands on it but I'd say that it was a small price to pay to have the pickle in my life once again. And after all that exercise I definitely had to do something awesome with it.

So, our could...

one...put it between two slices of bread
two...pile it high on your Ploughman's Lunch

or could take my advice and try my new spin on the humble beef burger. Cheese & Pickle Burgers! I love making my burgers from scratch and experimenting with what I put in them. And I can honestly say that these are the best ones I've ever made. The cheese keeps them really juicy and the pickle adds an oh so welcome tang. Yes, the cheese and pickle burger is definitely a welcome addition to my life.

Loosely based on Sarah Raven Food for Friends and Family
Makes about 15 burgers

If you can't get your hands on Branston pickle or don't like it (weirdo) then you could of course use any pickle you wanted. You could even use an onion marmalade or something similar. The recipe is pretty flexible so just experiment...go wild! 

Serve with some oven baked wedges and a lovely crisp salad. Yes, that'll do for me.

1kg beef mince
1 large onion, finely diced
4 tbsp Branston Pickle
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
100g cheddar cheese, grated
3 garlic cloves, very finely sliced
1 egg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. (Obviously you can't check your seasoning before you cook your burgers but you'll probably need more than you think. I usually end up under seasoning. Don't worry though, if you're scared of adding too much salt, you could of course season the burgers as they are cooking.).


It couldn't be simpler really. Firstly, put all of the ingredients in a large bowl.

TIP: please be smarter than me and do use a large bowl. Don't do as I did and use a bowl that is already full before you even start to mix the ingredients. I soon discovered that a small bowl results in burger mix escaping over the sides. And you don't want to be wasting this deliciousness.

Then all you've got to do is get your hands stuck in, mix all the ingredients together and make sure everything is thoroughly combined. 

It's not looking the prettiest right now but once these little morsels are shaped and cooked you'll be wanting more. Shape the mix into about 15 burgers and pop them in the fridge for an hour or so. This helps the burgers firm up before cooking.

These would be awesome cooked on the barbecue but I wasn't really feeling the whole outside cooking thing in the wind and rain. Fortunately they taste just as good fried in a heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat for about 4 minutes on each side. This left them still slightly pink in the middle but if you want them well done just leave them for another minute or so. 

The only thing that would make this dish better would be some homemade tomato sauce. Darn it, I wish I'd had more time. But hey, there's always next time...

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