3rd December, 2018
I am preparing to cook solely on the barbecue and gas hob as we head into a major kitchen renovation this summer. Fortunately, cooking dinner on the barbecue is something we do quite regularly anyway. Burgers, in particular, are the ideal pick-and-mix style dinner that appeals to the whole family.
My daughter likes to keep it simple with a patty, cheese and a bun, with her greens on the side; my son takes the “more fillings the better” approach, while I am not a fan of white fluffy buns, preferring to wrap my patty and fillings in a crispy lettuce leaf (I know, not technically a burger). Each to their own and this is the perfect meal to allow for this.
There is a knack to making a good burger patty. Plenty of moisture is crucial to prevent the patty from drying out while cooking. This can come in part from the fat content in the mince. I like to use a combination of lean venison mince with plumper pork mince. Or use all beef mince, opting for premium mince over a leaner grind.
To add extra moisture (and goodness), I add some vegetables to bulk out the mix. Often this is a grated carrot or, in the recipe below, I take beetroot and double its use in the meal – as a patty ingredient then pickle the extra cooked beetroot for slices as a burger filling. The subtly sweet flavour and silky texture the beetroot contributes to the burgers is marvellous.
DOUBLE BEETROOT BURGERS
- 1 bunch beetroot approximately 1kg
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 300 g venison lamb or beef mince
- 300 g pork mince
- 2 gherkins finely grated
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds or ground cumin
- 3 tablespoons ground oats grind rolled oats in a blender/spice grinder
- 1 egg
- Salt and pepper
- To serve: burger buns plus a selection of lettuce sliced cheese, sliced tomato, grated carrot, mayonnaise, pesto, chutney, etc.
- Pre-cook the beetroot, this can be done ahead of time. Top and tail the beetroot (don't throw away the beet greens, these can be sautéed similar to silverbeet and used in a filo pie).
- Place the whole beetroot into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 40-50 minutes until a knife glides into the flesh. Cool the beetroot in the cooking liquid.
- Once the beetroot is cool, rub off the skins, reserving the cooking liquid. Grate one to two of the cooked beetroot to make one cup (lightly packed) grated beetroot – for the burger patties.
- Cut the remaining beetroot into 5mm thick slices. Layer into a jar, add the balsamic vinegar and top up with the cooking liquid. Add a generous pinch of salt, cover, and store in the fridge for up to five days.
- To make the burger patties combine the grated beetroot, mince, gherkin, caraway and egg in a bowl. Mix until just combined – don't over-mix or the meat can toughen. Season well, make a small patty and cook in a frying pan to check seasoning, and adjust if needed. Form the remaining mixture into 8-10 patties. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.
- Preheat a barbecue grill and lightly oil. Cook patties until golden on both sides and cooked through, about 12-15 minutes. Serve the burgers platter-style with the prepared beetroot slices, buns and extra fillings of choice.