Tender, spicy and succulent

Tender, intensely succulent, spicily seasoned and served rather rare, best describes this, my favourite burger.

I like to flavour the meat with a variety of seasonings and all of these blend together beautifully in this simple delicious burger.

Buy top-of-the-range minced beef. The better the mince the less cooking it requires. The beef in your burger should not be dry and compacted.

Cook quickly, turning the meat once. Don’t keep flipping it from side to side and don’t press down on the meat as it cooks.

If you like your burger well done cook for a minute or two longer on each side.

Once the burger is cooked, it’s a question of what do you like on top. I’ve listed a few options; sliced raw tomatoes, grilled or raw onions, melted cheese, grilled bacon rashers, salad greens, mayonnaise, mustard, tomato sauce, avocado; the list goes on. Choose your favourites.

The cranberry barbecue sauce is optional. However, it’s quick and easy to make and a little bit different so it’s worth a try.

Cranberry sauce is not just for Christmas, it’s also a superbly tasty addition to a barbecue sauce. This is a rich combination of flavours; a hint of heat and a touch of sweet - dollop it on top of burgers, sausages or plain barbecued chicken.

PHOTO: CHRISTINE O’CONNOR
PHOTO: CHRISTINE O’CONNOR

Beef and cheese burger with cranberry barbecue sauce

Serves 6
1 large egg, size 7, beaten lightly
¼ cup tomato paste
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
50g tasty cheese, grated
⅓ cup day old breadcrumbs
⅓ cup finely chopped red onion
2 Tbsp chopped fresh marjoram or 2 tsp dried
800g top-quality New Zealand beef mince
vegetable oil for brushing

Cranberry barbecue sauce
½ cup cranberry sauce, store-bought
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
¼ cup tomato ketchup
⅛-¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp allspice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
100ml orange juice

To assemble
6 hamburger buns
mayonnaise (I use Best Foods)
tomato slices
salad greens (rocket and baby spinach are good)
cranberry barbecue sauce (6 Tbsp or as required) plus extra to serve alongside.

Method

To make the burgers

Combine the beaten egg, tomato paste, Dijon mustard, grated cheese, bread crumbs, red onion and marjoram in a large bowl.

Mix all together thoroughly then add the beef mince and gently mix — I do this with my hands. Don’t squeeze the meat or overmix as the burger will not be light and juicy.

Form into 6 thick, bun-size patties. Cover and chill for 30 minutes. Heat a heavy-based frypan over medium-high heat. Brush the patties with vegetable oil and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until well browned or cook on the barbecue for 3 minutes each side for rare or longer if required.

To make the cranberry barbecue sauce

Make this ahead of time and chill before serving.

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan.

Over low heat bring to the boil then simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring regularly until the sauce is thick. Remove from the heat and cool.

This makes about 1 cup.

Split the buns and heat in a moderate oven or on the grill for a few minutes.

Top the base bun in this order: mayonnaise, the burger pattie, a slice or two of tomato, salad greens and drizzle over the cranberry sauce. Spread the mayonnaise on the inside lid and place on top.


 

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