Do you see the possibilities here? Not yet? No, I'm not suggesting you recycle or, uh, re-gift your burgers the next evening as deconstructed meatloaf to unsuspecting guests. That's not so all-star. Burgers are a versatile and creative jack-of-all-trades. Impromptu summer get together? Check. Kid approved? Check. Vegetarian guests? Check. Paleo/Primal/Atkins/Wheat Belly/Weight Watchers friendly? Check. So when a copy of Rachael Ray's Book of Burger first crossed my desk, I paused for a moment and then had a lightbulb moment.
Rachael Ray + Burgers = GENIUS
Who better than the queen of the 30-minute meal to give us the Cadillac tour of the burger? I tested both of the recipes that her publisher was kind enough to share with us and they were super tasty. Everyday ingredients, easy directions, big bold flavour. I even shared an Indian Spiced meatball with a friend (Yes, I modified the original recipe to make meatballs instead. Lunch portions, people.) After a bite, her reaction was swift, "Mmmmn! I want this recipe!"
I'm happy to share both recipes, courtesy Atria Books and Simon and Schuster Canada.
Indian-Spiced Patties with Yogurt Sauce
1 ¼ pounds ground chicken or lamb
2 tablespoons mild or hot curry paste or seasoning blend
A pinch of ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, grated or pasted
Juice of 1/2 lemon
A small handful of cilantro, finely chopped
A small handful of mint leaves, finely chopped
4 leaves Bibb or Boston lettuce, chopped
2 tomatoes, sliced
4 brioche rolls or grilled naan breads
In a large bowl, combine the chicken or lamb with the curry paste (or seasoning blend) and cinnamon; season with salt and mix thoroughly. Score the mixture into 4 equal portions and form them into patties slightly thinner at the center than at the edges for even cooking and to ensure a flat surface (burgers plump as they cook).
Heat the EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the burgers, flipping once, 10 minutes for medium lamb burgers (adjust the cooking time for rarer or more well-done burgers) and 10 to 12 minutes, or until the juices run clear, for chicken burgers.
While the burgers are cooking, in a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, cilantro, and mint. Season the lettuce and tomatoes with a little salt.
Place the burgers on the roll bottoms or on one side of a naan and top with yogurt sauce, lettuce, and tomato. Set the roll tops in place or fold the naans over the burgers.
TIP: Naan is a type of fluffy flat bread typical of India. It is traditionally made by rolling out rounds of yeast dough and sticking them to the inside of a tandoor oven, where they cook at very high heat. Large supermarket chains often carry one or more varieties of naan—so check them out!
Sage-Scented Burgers with Fontina and Roasted Squash
1/2 small butternut squash or 1 acorn squash, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil), for drizzling
A few grates of nutmeg
Kosher salt and pepper
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
12 sage leaves
1 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground beef chuck
1 large clove garlic, grated or pasted
A handful of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 to 3/4 pound Fontina Val d’Aosta or other Fontina cheese or Taleggio cheese, sliced
4 sesame brioche rolls, split and lightly toasted
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Lightly coat the squash slices with EVOO. Season with the nutmeg, salt, and pepper and spread the rings out on a baking sheet. Roast until tender and browned at the edges, 18 to 22 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat until it foams. Increase the heat a touch and add the sage leaves. Cook until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Chop the sage leaves and reserve the browned butter separately.
In a large bowl, combine the veal and beef with the chopped crispy sage, the garlic, and Parmigiano-Reggiano; season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Score the mixture into 4 equal pieces and form them into patties slightly thinner at the center than at the edges for even cooking and to ensure a flat surface (burgers plump as they cook). Drizzle the patties with EVOO.
Heat a griddle or large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the burgers, flipping once and basting with the reserved sage butter, 10 minutes for medium (adjust the cooking time for rarer or more well done burgers). Top the burgers with Fontina during the last minute or two of cooking, tenting the pan with aluminum foil, if you like, to help melt the cheese.
Drizzle the cooked squash with honey. Place the burgers on the roll bottoms and top with the squash. Set the bun tops in place.
Copyright © 2012 by Rachael Ray and Atria Books. Photos reproduced with permission from Atria Books, Simon & Schuster Inc.