The boys went back to class

The boys had a couple of weeks off so I had a couple weeks off. I didn’t realize that most of what I  write comes from what I make for them and us the rest of the week until I wasn’t feeding them!

The same week the boys went back I was approached about selling some burgers so I decided to do some recipe testing on the guys!

Mushroom Swiss Burgers. One of my most favorite things to eat and to cook! I rarely make them the same way twice just because they are so easy to tweak but for you guys and the catering I kind of wrote things down so that success could be easily repeated!

Let’s start with ingredients. I made 4 burgers so the recipe and ingredients are enough for 4 but it is easily doubled or even halved.

  • 2 pounds of ground meat
  • granulated garlic, mushroom powder, onion powder, salt and pepper
  • 1/ cup mayo
  • worcestershire sauce, garlic paste, liquid smoke
  • 8 oz mushrooms
  • dark red wine, butter, beef broth, more garlic paste
  • couple of shallots

To start get the meat into a large bowl so that we can add the seasonings to the meat and mix it around before we make the patties. I added the garlic, onion, black pepper pinch of salt and exactly 4 drops of liquid smoke and mushed it all together before I made the mass of meat into 1/2 pound patties. Yes, I used a scale and weighed the patties out, not just to be fancy but to insure even cooking times. Once I had the patties made I sniffed them to gauge the amount of liquid smoke and I determined that I wanted a little more so I put an additional 2 drops on each patty.

After the patties are made I left them to the side to rest, I am not sure that meat gets treated like dough like that but I don’t see that it hurt.

Let’s chop shallots and mushrooms so we can get them going, this part takes the longest so we don’t want to start our patties until the mushrooms have had a few minutes head start. I like to get a deep, meaty mushroom flavor that doesn’t get lost in the meat flavor so I use a little different seasonings in the ‘shrooms than I do the meat. Try to get the shallots and mushrooms sliced the same size so that one doesn’t cook way faster than the other. I start with a bit of butter and a pinch of salt in the pan to get the shallots going and I let them go for 3 to 5 minutes until they are all translucent before I add the mushrooms. I chose to use baby portobellos because they keep some of their firmness when they are cooked and I feel like they have a deeper mushroom flavor than the white button type. So after I add the mushrooms I add a bit more butter and salt and let them go over a medium low heat for about 10 minutes before I start to jazz them up and for the jazzing we are going to use the worcestershire sauce, garlic paste, black pepper, wine and a little of the beef broth. We are going to layer the ingredients in, we want a little bit of sauce but we want it to taste like everything we add and not just a mess. I start with the garlic paste, a pat of butter and maybe a 1/4 cup of the beef broth and let that simmer down until the mushrooms have soaked up all the liquid before I add another 1/4 cup of broth and about a teaspoon of the worcestershire sauce and a few grinds of black pepper and lower the heat to low and just let this round barely simmer until the liquid is almost gone again. After the second round of broth I raise the heat to medium high and let the shallots and mushrooms start to brown and leave bits of themselves on the bottom of the pan so that I can add the wine and scrape up those bits of yum and incorporate them back into the sauce. When you have the bits all scraped and the steam is no longer getting you drunk reduce the heat back to low and let it simmer until the wine starts to make a syrup which will take about 20 minutes depending on how much wine you added, I used between a 1/4 and 1/2 cup. Once the wine has cooked down and the mushrooms and shallots are all glossy and boozy and meaty give them a taste and make sure the salt is OK and there is enough pepper and adjust accordingly because the next step is the last step and it is a set it and forget it kind of thing. To the glossy, sexiness add about 1/4 cup of beef broth and stir it in and leave it over the low heat while we cook the meat.

I don’t have any secrets to cooking the patties other than don’t fiddle with them. They only need to be flipped once and NEVER EVER smashed down into the pan with the back of the spatula!! Smashing the burger just gives you some kind of dry, overcooked tasting puck of meat that even the best mushroom sauce can’t save. I set the cast iron flat top over medium and add a little grapeseed oil and let it heat up before I put the meat on. Again, I am no patty guru and I am sure there is a more exact way to cook them but I go by sight. When the patty looks to be cooked about half way up the sides and there are juices coming to the top of the patty I flip them. In this case when I made the patties earlier I added the extra liquid smoke to one side and this was the side I started cooking them on so that I could add another drop to the other side and let it soak into the meat while it’s cooking so that it will work it’s way thru to the entire patty.

I am forever worried about serving an under-cooked burger so I checked the temp after they had been cooking on the second side for about as long as it had cooked on the first side. Ground beef is supposed to be cooked to 165 but even as squeamish as I am, I only get the meat to 155 before I kill the heat and add the cheese. The meat will continue to cook while it sits on the hot pan but not directly so that the meat gets dried out or burnt. Also I added the mushrooms to the tops of the patties before I added the cheese so that the cheese could melt over the mushrooms and work like a blanket to keep the toppings on the burger.

While the cheese is melting into it’s blanket let’s toast the buns and make some fancy mayo. Put the buns cut side up on a baking sheet and put them on the middle rack of the oven with the broiler on low and they should be perfectly toasted by the time the mayo is finished. To the 1/2 cup of mayo we are going to add mushroom powder, garlic paste, black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon worcestershire sauce and stir until it’s all combined. You might want to add a pinch of salt but that is totally up to you.

Let’s plate this dish! Get your toasty buns and smear both sides with the fancy mayo, not too heavy tho, if you have some butter lettuce put a leaf on the bottom bun and then add the patty. The butter lettuce is optional but suggested because the leaves are perfect little cups that are sturdy enough to hold the juice and sauce that is going to be erupting from this burger. Top with the other bun and chow down!!

Thanks ya’ll!! Happy cooking!

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