Burger blitz! Bring an old flame to life as the summer kicks in

WEEKEND FOODIE: Recipes for Bespoke Burgers - on a barbie or made indoors - and Pineapple Mint Parcels
Burger blitz! Bring an old flame to life as the summer kicks in

Di Curtin’s Bespoke Burgers, which can be made on a sizzling barbie, or indoors if it’s not pleasant outside

BURGERS are the evergreen food of the Irish summer season. With shops selling a range of ready-mades, from multi-packs of standard burgers, to gourmet ones flavoured with various ingredients or stuffed with cheese, it seems there’s hardly a need to make your own.

But, like any food, a homemade burger stands out from the ready- made pack!

This weekend, I’m giving you a recipe for flame-grilled burgers to carry you through the coming summer season. Rain or shine, these can be served up either grilled over the coals outdoors, or on a griddle pan on top of the cooker.

Making your own burgers allows you to create bespoke versions, using best quality minced beef, and your own chosen ingredients, to give the personal touch.

I’m using tender minced beef with the added touches of Worcestershire sauce and a shake of chilli sauce for some spicy heat, plus fragrant herbs for a summery feel.

To add onions or not to add onions - this is the question! Not everyone likes them in the burger mix, but I’m firmly in the onions camp. I don’t really like to add them to the burger mix, but I do like the option of having a few very finely sliced onion rings on top. If you are adding your onion to the mince, I recommend finely grating to give lots of flavour without the chunks, which may not cook properly.

A melting cheese topping is a must for me - but again it’s a personal choice.

A good bun is also essential. I’m choosing brioches, which have a slightly sweet taste to contrast with all the savoury flavours.

I’ve also made a quick Cornichon Burger Sauce with mayo, mustard and spicy tomato ketchup, with a few finely chopped cocktail cornichons stirred through, just to finish off in style. Cornichons are just little gherkins with a posh name! Readily available in supermarkets, I find them a little more delicate to eat than the larger gherkins. Serve burgers on the buns with the usual lettuce and tomato accompaniments

What dessert do you serve after a burger? If you want to make the most of the outdoor grill, bake some pineapple wedges with maple syrup and mint in foil parcels on the grill and serve with cream or ice cream. This idea can also be adapted to bake in the oven if the weather isn’t great. You can chop and change the fruit as the summer fruit season kicks in - try adding soft berries or even a few fresh peach or nectarine slices to the parcels.

BESPOKE BURGERS

Ingredients (serves 4) 500g best quality steak mince Few drops Worcestershire Sauce and Tabasco sauce to taste 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley and oregano is a lovely mix) Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper For the Cornichon Burger Sauce:

2 tbsp mayonnaise 2 tbsp spicy tomato ketchup ½ tsp Dijon mustard (or to taste) 1 tbsp finely chopped Cornichons Squeeze of lemon juice to loosen the mix 4 brioche burger buns 4 slices mature cheddar cheese Extra mayo for spreading Lettuce, tomato slices and onion rings to serve Method Place mince in a bowl and break up by hand.

Add Worcestershire and Tabasco sauce and herbs and work well into the mix to distribute evenly.

Add seasoning and mix again.

Divide into four quarter pounders, flattening them out so they cook evenly on the grill.

For the sauce, mix the mayonnaise, mustard and ketchup in a bowl. Stir in the chopped cornichons to mix well. Cover and reserve in the fridge till needed.

To cook, heat the coals till the flames have died down and the coals are white hot.

Add the burgers and cook them for about six minutes each side, depending on thickness. You want the meat to be cooked right through with no sign of pink juices. Press the top of the burgers with the flat of a fish slice and the juice should run clear.

When the burgers are ready, top with cheese and allow to melt for a couple of minutes.

To serve, split the buns and quickly warm them cut sides down on the grill.

Spread brioche bases with mayonnaise and top with lettuce and sliced tomatoes.

Top the burgers with sauce, then finely sliced onion rings if using, and extra finely sliced cornichons to taste.

Serve immediately!

PINEAPPLE AND MINT PARCELS

Ingredients (serves 4) 2 tbsp softened butter 1 fresh ripe pineapple, peeled, quartered, core removed and finely sliced 4 tbsp maple syrup Juice of 2 limes Few fresh mint leaves per parcel Method Generously butter four large squares of foil big enough to enclose the pineapple pieces.

Add the pineapple slices.

Drizzle with maple syrup and lime juice.

Add mint.

Seal the parcels well by crimping the sides of the foil together to completely enclose and hold in all the juices.

Cook for a few minutes till the fruit is piping hot and beginning to soften slightly.

Serve with cream or ice cream

WINE CHOICE

FOR a wine to match these burgers, I’m looking to the land that knows all about throwing a few things on the barbie!

Australia is the place for flame-grilled foods eaten outdoors in the bounteous sunshine. So we can bring a bit of that to the dining experience with a bottle of wine from the place down under.

Shiraz is a famous grape in Oz, known for its robust lashings of fruit and that familiar peppery spice. It will work very well with these meaty burgers and their subtly spicy character.

George Wyndham’s winery really got to grips with growing the Shiraz grape very early on in Australia’s wine making history. George Wyndham was the first to plant a Shiraz vineyard back in the 1800s, and is known as a founding father of the Australian wine industry. Today, the winery still produces this famous Shiraz.

Look for George Wyndham’s Bin 555 Shiraz, a typical example of the grape pioneered by George himself. Packed with full on ripe fruit and a nice brush of black pepper, this wine will work perfectly with these burgers. And the good news is - it’s on special offer at Supervalu till April 27, down from €14.50 to €11. What a bargain!

RECEIPT

BESPOKE BURGERS

Steak Mince 500g €6 Brioche Burger Buns x 4 pack €2.15 Fresh herbs pack €1.19 Worcestershire Sauce 150mls €2.07 Chilli Sauce 180mls €1.99 Mature Cheddar Cheese 200g €1.50

Total: €14.90

PINEAPPLE PARCELS

Fresh Pineapple 1pce €2.29 Maple Syrup 332g €3.99 Fresh mint pack €1.19 Limes, net of 3 69c

Total €8.16

GRAND TOTAL: €23.06


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