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We New Zealanders like to put beetroot and a fried egg into a burger. This is not so common in other parts of the world. When I was a kid, we would get fish ’n’ chips every Friday night from our local shop, and one of my favourite memories is always getting a weekly ‘‘Kiwi burger’’. The burgers were always stacked high with an abundance of good-quality ingredients: lettuce, beetroot, eggs and sometimes even pineapple. This early experience informed my philosophy on food; whether it be fast or slow food, the ingredients should always be fresh, seasonal and well sourced.
400g minced beef (good-quality,
locally sourced), at room temperature
4 Tbsp rapeseed (canola) or sunflower
oil (or 3 Tbsp oil and 1 Tbsp butter)
1 large red onion, finely sliced into discs
4 very thin slices of Emmental, Gouda
or Jarlsberg cheese
4 free-range eggs
4 burger buns, or brioche/milk buns
4 Tbsp tomato sauce or tomato chutney
4 Tbsp Dijon or wholegrain mustard
12 large tomatoes, sliced
8-12 slices of pickled beetroot (see below)
4 large iceberg or round lettuce leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Makes a 750ml jar
450g-500g beetroot, peeled, thinly
sliced/diced (blanched in boiling water) or grated
450ml (scant 2 cups) white wine vinegar
100ml (⅓ cup) filtered water
50g (Œ cup) white sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
8 cloves, gently toasted
3 green cardamom pods, gently smashed
2-3 pared strips of lemon zest
Divide the meat into 4 equal amounts and roll each into a ball. Sandwich each ball between 2 pieces of baking paper, and using a rolling pin, roll them out into patties about 1cm smaller in diameter than your burger buns. Set aside.
Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onions and fry for 5-6 minutes, until soft and a little charred. Remove from the pan and set aside. Keeping a medium-high heat, add the patties, two at a time. Generously season with salt and pepper. Cook for 30 seconds, then gently squash the patties down with a fish slice to the diameter of your burger buns and cook for a further 1œ minutes. Flip the patties, season again, and place a slice of cheese on top of each patty so it gently hugs when melted. Cook for 1 minute for medium rare, or 2 minutes for medium. Remove the patties and set aside to rest while you cook the next batch.
For the fried eggs
Heat the remaining oil or butter in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Crack in the eggs and as soon as you hear them start to sizzle cover with a lid. Fry for 30 seconds, then turn off the heat and leave covered for a further 30 seconds (so they steam). Depending on how runny you like your egg, you can cook them for longer.
When the patties are cooked, gently toast the burger buns in the same pan, pressing the sliced sides into the pan for 20-30 seconds.
To stack your burgers
Spread tomato sauce on the bottom buns and mustard on the tops. Place each cheese-coated patty on a bottom bun, then top with the fried egg, 1-3 slices of tomato, 2-3 slices of pickled beetroot, lettuce and lastly some of the fried onions, before finishing with the bun tops.
Note: Some of us say it’s not a Kiwi burger without a pineapple ring. For this sweeter version, char some pineapple slices in a griddle pan or under the grill and add to the stack in place of the tomato.
Combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt and spices in a large, non-reactive pan, keeping any fresh herbs or lemon zest to one side until the jarring stage. Place over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar and salt dissolve and the spices infuse. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes, then allow the brine to cool slightly.
Pack your prepped beetroots into appropriately sized, clean, cool jars. Try to fit in as much as possible without squashing or forcing too tightly, leaving a gap of about 1cm from the top rim.
Pour the brine over the beetroot. Gently tap out any trapped bubbles, or use a chopstick to manoeuvre the bubbles out, making sure you get out as many as you can (this trapped air can encourage fermentation). Top up with brine again so the produce is entirely covered, up to 23mm from the very top, and seal with a sterilised dry lid.
The preserved beetroot will need to be stored unopened in a cool, dark place for about 34 weeks before opening. Once opened, store in the fridge for greater longevity.
Different vegetables differ in freshness over time, generally 6-18 months, so keep an eye on them and open a test jar to try.