Burger ‘n’ fries (from scratch)
Well, not really from scratch, of course. As Carl Sagan once said, “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” I’m afraid my commitment levels don’t include creating a universe, nor even growing my own wheat or rearing my own cattle. Still, as a weekend project I decided to go as far back to basics as I could and make, to the best of my ability, a simple burger and chips — shorn of trendy adornments like pulled pork, bacon, chilli jam, or chipotle mayonnaise. I find this quite difficult because my natural cooking style is to pile on flavour after flavour. Lately, though, I’ve been making some efforts to reign this in, such as working hard on my six-ingredients-only spaghetti alla Carbonara and this burger is in that spirit.
So here’s what I made:
- A steak burger I ground myself from rib of beef (approx 1.5 kg) and skirt steak (approx 150 g). I formed quarter-pound patties in a ring mould and sprinkled some salt on the outside; in keeping with my “as simple as can be” principle there was nothing mixed in with the meat. I fried them to medium-rare.
- A “light brioche” burger bun I baked, working to this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. The bun was split and toasted — I really enjoy the little extra crunch of a toasted bun.
- Hand-cut chips (well, I used a mandolin), triple cooked (i.e. boiled, then fried at 130 deg C, then fried again at 180 deg C). This gives a fluffy interior and a crisp exterior.
- A slice of processed cheese (I vehemently believe that burgers call for processed cheese only; I don’t feel they are improved by strong cheddar or blue cheese or what-have-you.)
- Shoestring fried onions, using this recipe from The Pioneer Woman. I figured I might as well make some, as I had the oil hot to fry the chips anyway; these were the one extra thing I allowed myself to add to the burger.
It was delicious, which is just as well as I have enough meat in the freezer for another eight patties. The burgers were succulent, thanks to the generous amount of fat running through the beef, and with a bit of extra beefy taste from the addition of the skirt steak. Reasonably economical too — although the rib of beef is a premium cut, it still only cost £21 from my butcher, plus £2 for the skirt steak (skirt is technically an off-cut so pretty cheap). That works out to £2.30 per burger, which is a bit more than you’d pay for a steak burger in my local supermarkets but not outrageously so.