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Putting a new twist on Americas favorite: the hamburger

chef Mick RosacciSpecial to the Post Independent

When it comes to American favorites, the hamburger surely tops the list. Hamburgers and cheeseburgers make up more than 71 percent of beef items sold in restaurants; thats over 8 billion annually.Its easy to understand Americas love affair with the hamburger; theyre inexpensive, easy to make, and bursting with flavor. No wonder the average American eats three per week.Ground beef starts at 70 percent lean, but the best burgers are made from ground meats between 80 percent and 90 percent lean. Too fat and your burger shrinks down to nothing as it catches fire on the grill, too lean and it turns out tough and dry.Texture is important with burgers tightly packed machine-made burgers have a firmer texture, while a hand packed burger crumbles more readily. Breadcrumbs can also be used to enhance texture: The more breadcrumbs you use, the more tender, moist, and meatloaf like your burgers will be.Due to their nature, ground meats are susceptible to bacteria; and when a mistake is made in a huge processing plant, its shipped far and wide. If you are concerned, choose smaller markets and restaurants that grind their own trimmings in small batches. To assure safety, cook all ground meats to 160 degrees internal, or about medium-well. Use an instant read meat thermometer to be sure.Hamburgers may be a common dish, but that doesnt mean they have to be boring. This weeks recipes take burgers well beyond beef. Why not try something new? Buon Appetito, Salte! Chef Mick Rosacci, Tonys Meats & Specialty Foods Chef Michael Angelo (Mick) Rosacci and family own and operate Tonys Meats & Specialty Foods and Tony Rosaccis Fine Catering in Littleton and Centennial. More recipes at http://www.TonysMarket.com. Brie Burger 1 pound lean ground beef1⁄2 teaspoon salt1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper4 thick slices Brie cheese1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced into thin ringsspicy mustard or Dijonnaise4 crusty rolls, split Combine ground beef, salt and pepper. Form into 4 patties, 3⁄4-inch thick. Grill over medium heat or medium coals to internal temperature of 160 degrees. During last 2 minutes of grilling, top each burger with a slice of cheese and allow to melt. Remove from grill. Top each patty with a slice of apple. Spread spicy mustard over bun. Serve. Buffalo Turkey Burgers11⁄4 pounds ground turkey thighs 6 tablespoons finely minced celery11⁄2 teaspoons dried thyme1⁄4 cup Buffalo wing sauce1⁄2 cup Japanese Panko Breadcrumbs3-4 ounces Cambozola3 tablespoons butter1 clove crushed garlichamburger bunslettuceHave your butcher grind fresh, skinless chicken (or turkey) thighs once only with a fine grinding plate. Place chicken in a mixing bowl and add celery, buffalo wing sauce and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle with thyme and mix by hand to combine well.Shape into 4 thin patties. Combine melted butter with garlic and brush on the insides of hamburger buns.Heat grill to very hot, brush grate clean and mist or wipe with oil. Place patties over hot coals to brown well on the first side. Turn and reduce grill to medium, brushing with more Buffalo wing sauce if desired. Add a wedge of Cambozola to the center of burger. While cheese is melting, toast buns on grill note, patty cooks quickly!Serve burgers on toasted buns with lettuce alongside a sauce of ketchup spiked with buffalo wing sauce. Chef Mick Rosacci, Tonys Meats & Specialty Foods Low-fat version: Omit the garlic butter and the blue cheese, brushing buns with fat-free ranch or blue cheese dressing after toasting. Bison Burger w/ Colorado Salsa11⁄2 pounds fresh ground bisonspice rub (see recipe below)2-3 ears of fresh sweet corn2 small sweet onions, sliced2 tomatoes, sliced1⁄2 cup roasted green chilies, peeled, seeded & chopped1-2 cloves garlic, pressedscant 1⁄4 cup cilantro leaves, minced2-3 tablespoons olive oil1 tablespoon sweet balsamico*extra sharp American or English cheddarfresh bakery buns, lettuce Shape into 4 equal patties and season with spice rub. Hold in refrigerator until ready to grill.Brush onion, corn and tomatoes with olive oil, sprinkle with spice rub. Grill onions until tender, corn until toasted, and tomatoes just to char. Cut corn from cob, chop onion and tomato. Toss with chiles, garlic, cilantro, olive oil and sweet balsamico. Season salsa to taste with spice rub, and reserve at room temperature.Grill bison patties to 160 degrees, topping with cheddar last few minutes to melt. Toast buns on grill. Assemble in this order: bottom toasted bun, lettuce, patty, drained salsa, and finally the top bun. Chef Mick Rosacci, Tonys Meats & Specialty FoodsSpice Rub Combine 3 tablespoons paprika, 1 tablespoon cayenne, 2 tablespoons garlic powder, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 3 tablespoons sea or Kosher salt, 2 tablespoons black pepper, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon dried thyme, 2 tablespoons brown sugar (sugar optional). Feel free to adjust to personal taste. Store leftovers in an air-tight container for future use.* If you dont have sweet balsamico, reduce regular balsamic vinegar with brown sugar to a syrup.Mushroom-Stuffed Pork Burgers3⁄4 cup thinly sliced mushrooms1⁄4 cup thinly sliced green onion1 clove garlic, minced2 teaspoons butter11⁄2 pounds lean ground pork1 teaspoon Dijon mustard1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce1⁄4 teaspoon salt1⁄8 teaspoon freshly ground pepperGruyere cheese In medium skillet, saut mushrooms, onion and garlic in butter until tender, about 2 minutes, cool. Combine ground pork, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper; mix well. Shape into 12 patties, about 4 inches in diameter, set aside. Spoon equal portions of mushroom mixture onto center of 6 pork patties. Spread to within 1⁄2 inch of edge. Top with the remaining 6 patties; seal edges. Place patties on grill about 6 inches over medium-hot coals. Grill 10-15 minutes, turning once. Melt cheese on top of patties and serve on fresh buns. Elvis BurgerThought this would be fun, an American classic from the kitchen of a Brit well done, mate!2 pounds chuck steak 1 red onion, finely chopped 1 tablespoon olive oil 1⁄2 teaspoon cumin seeds 1 tablespoon coriander seeds Pinch salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 handful Parmesan, grated 1 heaped tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 large egg 4 ounces bread crumbs canola oilburger bun, toasted tomato ketchup, garnish pickled gherkin, garnish Slice the chuck steak, then pulse in the processor; this is great, as you get some smaller bits and some larger bits of meat. In a big frying pan slowly fry the onion in olive oil for about 5 minutes until softened, but not colored. This gives the sweetness to the burger. Add the onion to the meat. Using a pestle and mortar, bash up the cumin, coriander seeds, salt and pepper until fine and add to the meat. Add the Parmesan, Dijon mustard, egg and half the bread crumbs and mix. If too sticky, add a few more breadcrumbs. Lay out some greaseproof paper, sprinkle with bread crumbs, and then shape the meat into patties. Place them on the crumbs, and sprinkle more crumbs on top. These burgers are better if they are chilled in the fridge for about 1 hour before you cook them. Heat a little oil in a frying pan, and cook the burgers on medium-high heat for about 8 to 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Serve on a toasted burger bun with tomato ketchup and a wally (pickled gherkin). Yellowfin Tuna Burgers with Ginger-Mustard Glaze Ginger-Mustard Glaze1⁄3 cup teriyaki sauce2 teaspoons minced ginger1⁄2 teaspoon minced garlic1 tablespoon honey1 tablespoon Dijon mustard1⁄2 teaspoon white wine vinegarTuna Burgers11⁄2 pounds yellowfin tuna, free of any skin or gristle2 teaspoons minced garlic3 tablespoons Dijon mustard1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne1 teaspoon kosher salt1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper1⁄4 cup olive oil4 fresh hamburger buns with seeds1⁄4 cup Japanese pickled ginger (optional) Combine all the ginger-mustard glaze ingredients in a 1-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the glaze coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Strain through a sieve and reserve in a warm place until tuna burgers are cooked. Can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.Grind the tuna in a meat grinder or chop with a large sharp knife, to the texture of hamburger meat. Do not use a food processor, which will shred the tuna rather than chop it. Transfer the ground tuna to a bowl and combine with the garlic, mustard, cayenne, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Divide the tuna into 4 equal portions. Using your hands, roll each part into a smooth ball and then flatten into a compact patty. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sear the tuna burgers until browned and medium rare, 3 to 4 minutes a side. Serve each burger on a buttered toasted bun and spread with a tablespoon of warm glaze. Garnish the burgers with equal amounts of pickled ginger slices. Union Square


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