The New American Burger

by Chef Shaya

This is a healthier and more flavorful twist on an American classic.

Yield: 4 burgers, or 8 sliders

½ lb ground chuck beef
½ lb ground veal or turkey
2 tsp tomato paste
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed (you may use more if you like it more garlicky)
½ bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 package white button or cremini mushrooms
2 tablespoons or more fine bulgur wheat (depending on mixture consistency)
2 teaspoon paprika (or if you like it a little spicy, you may use spicy paprika)
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
1-2 whole eggs
Vegetable or Blended Olive Oil

1. Combine ground meats into a large bowl.
2. Add to the meat the tomato paste, onion, garlic, parsley, paprika, and pepper.
3. Wipe mushrooms with a damp paper towel, and chop into quarters. Season with some salt and pepper, allowing the salt to extract some of the liquid from the mushrooms.
4. Heat oil in a wide, shallow skillet with some oil until hot.
5. Just as the oil begins to shimmer, add the chopped mushrooms and allow them to release their liquid.
6. Cook mushrooms until they’ve browned, and remove to a cutting board.
7. Once the mushrooms have slightly cooled, roughly chop them into a fine, tartar-like consistency. Add to the bowl with the meat.
8. With clean hands (make sure to take off any rings), begin to incorporate all the ingredients into the bowl. Be careful not to overwork the meat, just enough to begin to combine all the ingredients.
9. Once the ingredients have incorporated, add first one whole egg and once again, combine the egg with the meat. If the consistency of the meat seems too “dry,” add the second egg and combine. The eggs will help to bind the meat and other ingredients together.
10. At this point, sprinkle in the fine bulgur wheat and combine with your hands. It’s important to be able to feel the texture, as the bulgur wheat absorbs any excess liquid and helps to bind the ingredients together. Continue to add the fine bulgur wheat in small amounts until you reach the correct consistency. When formed into a ball, the meat mixture should stick to itself and hold together without being excessively moist. If it’s too dry and brittle, it may fall apart and you may need to add an additional egg. If it’s too moist, let the ingredients sit for a while longer, allowing the bulgur to absorb the excess liquid and add more bulgur wheat if necessary.
11. Portion out either 4 regular size burgers, or 8 slider burgers. With each portion of meat, pass the meat from hand to hand, forming a ball. Once the ball is formed, flatten it out into a patty shape in between your hands.
12. Set aside the patties on a plate for when you’re ready to grill.
13. Once your grill is hot and brushed with oil, place the patties on the grill, and allow to cook for about 3-6 minutes on each side, depending on how well-done you prefer your burgers. Keep in mind that the slider burgers will cook slightly faster than the regular size patties.
14. Serve with grilled burger buns or English muffins and the typical additions of lettuce, tomato, raw and/or grilled onions and various condiments.

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