BBQ, Beef, Mince, Sauces

Jamie Oliver’s Insanity Burger

Makes: 4 big`burgers

A while back, we passed the all important step of understanding that for any burger to be amazing, it has to start with amazing, fresh mince.

Not the variety you get from the supermarket and certainly not the lean stuff you might otherwise use in a mince.

Instead, you need a quality cut of steak (chuck or similar), you need to see it minced in front of you on a coarse grain and you need to cook it within 24-hour.

This and this alone will set you on the path to a superb burger.

There are then plenty of directions and approaches you can obviously take and a fried green chilli burger we cooked last weekend only scratches at the surface of where you can go.

For me however, nailing the quintessential, classic burger was a bit of a must before venturing off in these many possible directions: nailing a burger with ketchup, American mustard and good egg mayo.

I previously typed up Neil Perry’s classic burger as simply that: a classic. And it really is a classic in every sense of the word.

This Insanity Burger then is like taking what is already a classic sportscar and really seeing what you can do with it. Pushing the outer limits of the handling, engine and design.

Hand on heart, it deserves the name Insanity Burger.

Nail this burger and you will have successfully passed Level 1 of the burger game; free to play the next level and start down whatever direction you choose.

Just make sure you get your mince right.

Ingredients

800gm freshly mince chuck steak
Olive oil
1 large red onion, finely sliced
White wine vinegar
2 large gherkins, sliced
4 brioche burger buns, halved
8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
4 tsp American mustard
Tabasco Chipotle sauce (Woolworths and Coles have it)
4 thin slices of Red Leicester cheese (ditto)
4 tsp tomato ketchup

For the burger sauce

¼ of an iceberg lettuce, finely chopped
2 heaped tbsp egg mayonnaise
1 heaped tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp Tabasco Chipotle sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp brandy or bourbon

Method

  1. Divide the mince into four and roll into thick, patties, 2cm wider than your buns.
  2. In a bowl, dress the onion with the vinegar and a pinch of sea salt.
  3. For the burger sauce, combine the ingredients in a bowl.
  4. In a pan over a low heat, cook your bacon to the point of crispiness.
  5. Heat your grill as high as possible, rub your burgers with a bit of oil and grill; after 1 minute flip and brush each cooked side with ½ tsp of mustard and a dash of Tabasco. After 1 minute more, flip and repeat.
  6. Cook for another minute or two and then place two pieces of crispy bacon on top and then the cheese. Grill until the cheese melts; grill the buns at the same time.
  7. To build the burger, add a quarter of the burger sauce to the bun base, add the cheesy burger, a quarter of the onions and the gherkins. Add 1 tsp of ketchup on top and close.
  8. You passed!
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Indian, Sauces, Side, Vegetarian

Coconut chutney

Serves: A dinner of dosai, as a side

Dosais are not the least expensive things on your Southern Indian restaurant menu and even then, I doubt they make much money from them.

There are plenty of ingredients that go into the whole show, they take time and technique and importantly, a truly wonderful chutney like this lasts… 24 hours. Time and economies of scale are not on your side.

The silver lining of course is that a good dosai is to die for and this chutney is simply part of the story. It is amazing.

The extra touch that turns the dial from 11 to 12. The addition that completes the meal, taking you into fine Indian cooking territory. The secret weapon in your cook-off that nobody saw coming.

Sure, you have 24-hours to get from bench to plate, though in-between making your dosai batter, your filling and a wonderful side of lentils, you’re signed up to the task right?

And the fact is, you cannot lose any cook-off – or dinner – if you pull the whole thing off.

Tie maybe, but who the hell are you cooking against?!

Ingredients

Half a coconut, grated
2 fresh green chillis
½ bunch fresh coriander leaves
1 tbsp fresh ginger
Salt to taste

Tempering

10ml vegetable oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
¼ asafoetida powder
1 sprig fresh curry leaves

Method

  1. Grind the coconut, chillis, coriander leaves, ginger and salt in a blender, adding a little water if required.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves and temper the chutney by pouring the mixture on top.
  3. Serve as an accompaniment to dosai.

** Enhances colour and flavour and settles the stomach; unless you have it or feel inclined to get it, you can live without.

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Beef, Healthy, Sauces

Burger in a Bowl

Serves: 4

This is a crazy recipe and on so many fronts.

It is so cheezly good that if you got it in some chain restaurant in the States, you’d go back once a week just to have it for lunch.

Essentially a burger without the bun, it is so whacking with flavour, so filling and so relatively healthy, words don’t describe. And where I say it is a burger without a bun, it is literally an American chain burger without a bun.

Or cheese or grease.

The ‘SW Super Sauce’ is the hero here and we didn’t change a thing except substitute firm, fat-free yogurt for the fromage frais… and nobody would notice.

We dialed up the beef by adding ground coriander, cumin, smoked paprika and chilli powder and I would suggest you do the same.

To say that this is a must-try, out-of-the-ordinary, you-will-love-it meal is an understatement.

Go with the terrible iceberg lettuce, use some spiced gherkin and take the night off from anything fancy.

This is a burger… without the bun… in a bowl.

Ingredients

Burger

1 tsp canola oil
500gm extra lean beef mince
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Plenty of salt and pepper
Whatever spices you think, though flavour and spice it up

Salad

½ iceberg lettuce, roughly chopped
8 gherkins, sliced
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped

SW Super Sauce

3 tbsp extra-light mayonnaise
5 tbsp fat free fromage frais
1 tbsp American mustard
2 tbsp tomato puree (passata)
2 tsp white wine vinegar
½ tsp garlic salt
¼ tsp onion granules
¼ tsp sweet smoked paprika

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan; add the beef, onion and garlic and stir fry for 6 – 7 minutes until the beef is browned and the onion has softened.
  2. Meanwhile, put all the SW Super Sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Mix together the salad ingredients and divide between 4 bowls. Spoon the beef mixture on-top, drizzle over the SW Super Sauce and serve hot.
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Greek, Sauces, Vegetarian

Tzatziki

Serves: 4

A bit boring I know, though a good, home-made tzatziki is pretty cool.

Low fat – if you do it with low, or zero fat yoghurt – and tasty with pretty much anything you can throw at it. Meat, crackers, vegetables.

No guilt.

Ingredients

1 Lebanese cucumber, coarsely grated
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
200gm low-fat (or fat free) Greek-style yoghurt
2 tbsp finely chopped mint
1 clove garlic, crushed

Method

  1. Put the grated cucumber in a fine-meshed sieve over a bowl and sprinkled with a pinch of salt. Set aside for 20 minutes or more to drain off the excess moisture.
  2. Place the salted cucumber, yoghurt, mint and garlic in a bowl and mix to combine. Season and enjoy for the next few days.
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French, Sauces, Vegetarian

Basic Hollandaise Sauce

Serves: 4 – 6

I believe that Hollandaise Sauce is one of those staples that Gordon Ramsay demands you cook for him in Kitchen Nightmares (which of course you can’t) before he rubbishes your grubby restaurant and then rebuilds it by simplifying your menu, throwing out all your furniture and putting a sign out front.

So best you know this simple and classic version then, kindly supplied (though not cooked) by my father.

My mother bemoans that she fast-tracks this sauce by using a food processor though I don’t know what she is talking about. I doubt Gordon would either and not before he threw a chair at you.

Get the water-bath going and do it right.

(And have an ice-cube ready if the sauce splits; just whisk it in a voila!)

Ingredients

4 large egg yolks
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
170gm (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of cayenne
Sea salt

Method

  1. Position a large heatproof bowl over a pot of barely simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
  2. In the bowl, whisk the yolks, lemon juice, and mustard until well combined.
  3. Gradually whisk in the butter in a thin stream and keep whisking until the sauce is thick enough for the whisk to leave tracks that hold for a couple of seconds, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Whisk in the cayenne and season to taste with salt.
  5. Keep the sauce warm in its bowl set over the simmering water, whisking occasionally, until ready to use.
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French, Sauces, Seafood

Rick Stein’s Escalopes of Salmon with a Champagne and Chive sauce

Serves: 4

Got you at Champagne right?

Classic Rick Stein at his best, Nat and I served this at a lunch with our parents and it was a homerun; ditto the meeting of parents.

Apart from the delicacy and taste of this recipe, best is that you can make most of the sauce in advance, giving plenty of opportunity to fend off the continual barrage of humiliating stories being gleefully shot across your bows by parents:

“I remember when Robert wrote off a car…”

“Ha, that’s nothing, I remember when Natalie wrote of a yacht…”

“Tiny compared to when Robert…”

Die.

750gm salmon fillet
2 tbsp sunflower oil
Salt

Champagne and chive sauce

30g unsalted butter
1 French shallot, finely chopped
100ml champagne + 1tbsp
600ml fish stock
½ tsp caster sugar
50ml double cream
2 tsp chopped chives

Method

  1. Cut the salmon fillet into 12 escalopes; slices length ways, around half a centimeter thick. Brush each one with oil, season with a little salt and lay on a slightly oiled tray.
  2. Melt 10gm of the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add 1 finely chopped shallot and cook gently without colouring, until soft. Add 100ml of champagne and boil for 2 minutes. Add the fish stock and the sugar and boil rapidly until reduced by three-quarters. Add the double cream, bring back to the boil and then simmer until it has reached a good sauce consistency.
  3. Keep warm (whilst defending your reputation).
  4. Whisk together another 50ml double cream with 1 tbsp champagne and the chives until it forms soft peaks.
  5. When you are ready to serve, pre-heat the grill to high and bring the sauce back to the boil, whisk in 20gm butter, then the whipped cream mixture.
  6. Grill (or pan fry) the salmon for 30 seconds per side until just firm.
  7. Overlap the escalopes in a center of each warmed plate and pour the sauce around. Sprinkle with a few chopped chives and serve immediately while the sauce is still foaming.
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