By Isabel Dwyer
Burgers make things better, and ‘better’ is what we all could do with a bit of right now. Bring a bit of light into your quarantine of choice this weekend by making these simple, but every-bit-as-good-as-the-real-stuff, burgers for you or for those who you find yourself holed up with. All these ingredients should also be in stock right now. I found plenty of everything in my local Lidl.
You’ll need minced beef, brioche burger buns (or whatever you can find or prefer), tomatoes, white onion, lettuce (I like to go for iceberg, romaine or gem), mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, butter, salt, pepper, American cheese (or whatever cheddar you have) and gherkins.
I like to have everything prepared before I start cooking, as once those patties hit the frying pan, they take no time. The above are traditional toppings but feel free to leave out any that don’t bring you joy. Roll up those dressing gown sleeves (if you got dressed today, take a bow) and get slicing. For the tomatoes, cut into slices. If you only have cherry tomatoes, cut into mini little slices. This is a pandemic, people. We won’t get fussy about tomatoes. Peel and cut the onion into thin slices, then pull the rings apart from one another. If you have iceberg lettuce, shred it. For romaine or gem, rip off the individual leaves. Pickles, for me, have to be chopped into little coin-like pieces, but you can be fancy if you want and cut on the diagonal. If you’re using real cheese instead of American, make sure to slice nice and thin from the block.
For the sauce, mix up equal parts of ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard. I like to throw in a dash of the brine from the pickle jar too, because I have no self-respect. Mix until smooth. Spread some butter on the insides of your burger buns so that they’re ready for later.
Meat time. Get your minced beef out and ready. You’re meant to use a pack that has a high fat percentage so that the fat renders off. I’m in self-isolation right now, so my Mam did the shopping. She refused to buy mincemeat that was 20% fat because, and I quote, “that’s disgusting”, so we’re working with 12% here. But like I said about the tomatoes: pandemic. Let’s not invoke any more panic than we need to. Pick off a handful of the mince and work the meat so that it stays together as a clump. No need to roll into a perfect ball, as texture is your friend here. Have your salt and pepper ready on the side.
Grab a pan and turn the heat on high. Add a drizzle of whatever oil you have. Place your little mound of mince on the hot pan and use a spatula (or similar) to flatten down it into the patty shape right then and there. Sprinkle lots of salt on top as it cooks. Add pepper here too. If you’re cooking lots of these, you might need to do it in batches. Don’t overcrowd your pan because, by doing so, you’ll lower the overall heat. Leave your patties for about two minutes. Once that time is up, flip and leave for another minute on that side. Then, add your cheese to the patties and cover the pan with a lid or large plate, allowing the cheese to melt.
Meanwhile, grab another pan and toast your buns on medium heat, with the insides face down. No need to add oil as you’ve already spread the butter. Keep a really close eye on these as the high sugar content means they burn super easily. For a less stressful experience, you could always just toast the buns. Keep checking them until they’re golden brown, then set aside.
Once all aspects are ready, all there’s left to do is assemble. Spread your sauce on the buns and tower up all the toppings in whatever way feels right. Always go lettuce on the bottom, though. And enjoy this picture of my Mam and her burger!
Thanks for reading the last recipe of the year. Take care, eat your burger, download Tik Tok, and, most importantly, ring your granny.