Despite all my kale-lovin’, quinoa-eatin’ ways, there are days when nothing sounds better to me than a good, juicy burger. That craving has been coming up more often as of late, possibly because barbecue season is now officially under way and the smell of burgers on the grill wafts by fairly regularly around Midtown. And possibly because I’ve been busy racking my brain to come up with an outstanding burger recipe for my book (Rodney, a fantastic foodie friend and awesome Kickstarter backer, is one of the lucky 25 that gets to choose a new recipe for me to develop. Since he pens the Burger Junkies blog, naturally he chose a burger. : ) ).
But I definitely have burgers on the brain because of Father’s Day, and I know one of my daddy’s (and most dads’) favorite things on the planet is enjoying a good, juicy burger.
Because my dad lives out of the country, I don’t get to spoil him with fantastic meals for Father’s Day or his birthday the way I wish I could. Hopefully I’ll be able to do so soon, because I haven’t seen him in about seven years and I not only miss him so much it hurts, I kinda want to show him what his little girl can do now. Growing up, he was always the parent I was allowed to watch in the kitchen, but never help out (and I turned out the same way, lol), so I’m sure he’d be thrilled to try some of my dishes.
Alas, I only have the phone and the interwebs to help me spoil my main man, so I dedicate this burger recipe to him.
I’m a huge fan of mushrooms on my burgers, so I knew they’d be featured heavily in this latest dish. But I didn’t want just another burger topped with mushrooms; everyone has those so they’re not all that hard to find. I wanted my burger to have mushrooms in it, and so into the burger they went. For more reasons than just a simple craving.
The mushroom’s meaty texture and rich, umami flavor make it a natural pairing with beef. Combining mushrooms with the ground beef used for your burgers not only amps up those delicious qualities, it cuts down on the fat of each individual burger, and helps to yield more finished product. And since mushrooms cost less than meat, you can really stretch out that meal without spending too much extra.
There are a lot of mushroom-stuffed burger recipes that seem pretty awesome, but my goal was to have the mushrooms become part of the actual burger. What I did for my recipe was to add finely chopped mushrooms into the ground beef and seasoning mixture, much in the same way I did for my Garbanzo & Mushroom Burgers. The trick is to make sure that your mushrooms are very finely and evenly chopped – one stray chunk larger than the others can make your patty prone to breaking apart.
I kept the seasonings fairly simple in this one, since the whole point is to let the burger – and all those magnificent mushrooms – shine. Granted, I’ve been using the amazing, quality meat offered by Lucky Dog Ranch (it’s my monthly $5 splurge, lol), so a lot of seasoning isn’t needed anyway. Naturally, the sauteed mushrooms that top this little piece of umami heaven add even more flavor to the finished product, which is another reason not to go overboard with seasoning the meat. As much as I love a ton of different seasonings in certain dishes, when it comes to burgers, I’m kind of a purist.
While this one falls under the PGEW Splurges category, it’s definitely more cost effective than getting a similar burger at a restaurant or fast food chain. You also know exactly what’s going into your burger, which is important to know, especially in this day & age. Depending on how large or small you form your patties, you can make up to six burgers with this recipe. Granted, that leaves you with two extra burger buns in the package, but you can always save those for another kind of sandwich. Lastly, when it comes to toppings & condiments, feel free to use what you normally would. I like a lot of produce on my burgers (can ya tell?), but having this with a simple garlic aioli spread on the bun is also quite delicious.
Oh, how I wish I could be with my daddy to make him a low-carb version of this! Alas, I will just have to enjoy one in his honor (which I know he will give me hell for once I describe this to him in a few minutes. “That’s not fair, hija,” he’s going to say, lol). But this burger’s great for anytime of year, so when you’re having a craving and don’t feel like forking out too much for a restaurant burger, you can give this one a shot. I think it’s worth it.
PS – Yes, I used the new Rebel for these shots. Still not 100% good at full manual mode yet, but I’m so pleased with the outcome so far! : )
Double Mushroom Burger (makes 4-6 servings; total cost per serving: $3.05)
Not sure you’ll need all those burgers? Split the meat & mushroom mixture in half and make meatballs with the second half. Then use them in pasta or a sub sandwich, and voila! Totally different meal from one recipe.
Also, regarding cooking method, I cooked mine in a skillet on the stovetop, but I know a lot of you like to grill. I am not good at grilling (yet), so I won’t give you tips until I feel more confident in that area. Instead, check out the grill master himself, Bobby Flay, and his Perfect Burger recipe for tips on how to cook the perfect burger on any cooking surface. It worked for me!
1 lb ground beef
1 8 oz package of mushrooms
1/4 c + 1 T finely chopped red onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 T soy sauce
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 T light cooking oil (canola, etc.)
4-6 slices of cheese (optional)
Lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mayo, and other fixings
1. Take about 2/3 of the mushrooms from the package and slice into 1/4″-1/2″ thick slices. Set aside. Take the remaining mushrooms and chop very finely (pieces should only be about 1/4″ in size). Place in a separate bowl and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, garlic, 1/4 cup of red onion, the chopped mushrooms, soy sauce, and salt & pepper. Mix everything together until the mushrooms, garlic and onion are evenly distributed throughout. (At this point it may look like way too many mushrooms, but that’s the goal.)
3. Divide the meat into 4-6 equal portions, depending on how large you like your burgers. Carefully shape each one into a 1/2″-3/4″ thick patty, taking care not to overwork the meat. Heat the oil in the skillet over high heat until iridescent. Carefully place the burgers in the pan and cook for about 3 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom. Flip and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes, until they’re nice & golden brown (and slightly charred… Bobby’s right about that part! Tastes so good!). Top with cheese if you’re using it, allow the cheese to melt by covering the pan with a lid for just a couple minutes, and remove from pan.
4. In a small saute pan, heat about 1/2 tablespoon of oil. Add the onions and saute for about 30 seconds, until they start to turn translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender, about 3 minutes or so, making sure to add a pinch of salt at the end. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. Assemble your burgers by adding your favorite condiments to the buns. Place the burgers on the bottom bun, top with plenty of sauteed mushrooms, and keep adding your tower of toppings. Serve with chips or a salad, grab plenty of napkins, and enjoy!