Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Operation: Cheeseburger

Imagine, if you will, that you're relaxing on the couch on a snowy Sunday afternoon. Flipping through the channels, your heart rate is rising as you get way too involved in the men's Nordic combined Olympic race. COME ON AMERICA!  You need to watch something a little less involved. Hmmm, what's on Food Network? Three hours of that Mark-McGrath-from-Sugar-Ray-only-bloated guy? Sign me up, yes, I will watch six episodes of Diners, Drive Ins and Dives, moving only to adjust my sweatpants. Yes, I will crave cheeseburgers like the deserts miss the rain.

So this, dear readers, is what led us to Operation: Cheeseburger. Too much Guy Fieri can do that to a person. We scoured the food mags and blogs for the best recipes - ketchup, mayo, brioche buns and burgers were on the horizon. And good lord was it delicious. I would suggest you skip the step that involved grinding the meat from sirloin and strip steak. Fun, but slightly unnecessary and extremely time-consuming, but it makes for a nice photo, doesn't it?

Homemade mayonnaise comes together in approximately 32 seconds. People, do this. Your life will never be the same. I am not even going to make the recipe hard: Put two egg yolks, juice from a half a lemon and 1/8 teaspoon of sugar in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse for about ten seconds. Then add in a steady stream of 3/4 cup of vegetable or canola oil (don't use olive oil, it's way too overpowering) while you run the FoodPro (what, that's what Kevin on Iron Chef calls it) for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides, try not to eat it straight from the bowl, adding salt and pepper to taste.

DONE. That was easy, right? I'm telling you, it is so delicious and so worth it. What is equally delicious is homemade ketchup. It takes a LOT longer than the mayo but it is so rustic and flavorful. I'm not saying I'm throwing away my Heinz 57 anytime soon, but the homemade ketchup is killer. Check out the recipe after the jump.

So, you've got your burgers, your mayo and your ketchup made ... unless you are J Fierce, you need a bun for this bad boy. (It's true - she eats a cheeseburger sans bun, knife and fork, like a wackadoo.) Do not be afraid of making these cheeseburger buns. They are so easy and So.Very.Very.Good. Light and fluffy, but sturdy enough to hold up a big juicy burger with all the toppings, these burger buns are worth the time. And what, you're just watching Guy Fieri and his bad facial hair all afternoon, get yourself in the kitchen and get these going.

Toppings and sides are up to you - personally, my preference is a slather of mayo and ketchup on the top bun, followed by a good melty cheese like Havarti or Gouda, caramelized onions and bacon. If you're like KFTF, you will put the lettuce and any other toppings (such as disgusting pickles, ew I just barfed on my keyboard) between the burger and the bottom bun to maximize potential. Sides, as you can see in the above photo, involve more onions and baby red potatoes. I am not going to lie, these were roasted in bacon fat. No, I do not weight 400 pounds, but at times I wonder how in the world I don't.

Do with your burger what you will, but pretty please, make it homemade. Recipes after the jump (did you see how I did that like a real live blogger?  So proud).

Homemade Ketchup

1 (28-to 32-ounces) can whole tomatoes in juice
1 medium onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup cider vinegar

Purée tomatoes with juice in a blender until smooth.  Cook onion and garlic in oil with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes.  Add spices and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring frequently, 1 minute. 

Add tomato purée, tomato paste, brown sugar, and vinegar and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until very thick, 45 to 55 minutes (stir more frequently toward end of cooking to prevent scorching).

Purée ketchup in blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Chill at least 2 hours (for flavors to develop). 

Yield: 2 3/4 cup ketchup; keeps chilled in the fridge up to one month.

Handground Burgers

8 ounces chuck, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
8 ounces sirloin, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

In separate batches, pulse the chuck and the sirloin in a food processor 10 times. Combine the chuck, sirloin, and kosher salt in a large bowl. Form the meat into 5-ounce patties (it should make about four).

Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Place the hamburger patties in the pan. For medium-rare burgers, cook the patties for 4 minutes on each side. For medium burgers, cook the patties for 5 minutes on each side. Flip the burgers only once during cooking.

Light Brioche Buns

3 tablespoons warm milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
sesame seeds (optional)

In a glass measuring cup, combine 1 cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, beat 1 egg.

In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Using a dough scraper, stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Scrape dough onto clean, unfloured counter and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes.

Shape dough into a ball and return it to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using dough scraper, divide dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange 2 to 3 inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let buns rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours.

Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor. (C Fierce Note: I completely forgot to do this.  They turned out fine.)  Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. Beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Yield: 8 buns.

1 comment:

  1. This got me craving... I had a press burger for dinner last night. (Press burger is a Burger + fried egg on top. Depending on your location it might be called something else. Like a gus burger). I added sliced avocado and no, I did not have a bun. Maybe if C Fierce comes over and makes them at my house I'll eat a bun, but until then, I'm fine with it the way it is.