Post # 317 A Comforting Kind of Burger

December 5, 2014 at 11:14 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 317 A Comforting Kind of Burger

It’s cold outside, at least in the northern hemisphere.  Here on the Eastern Shore, we haven’t seen the sun for a few days.  The dogs are looking at me like I’ve done something with it.  Our solar lights aren’t even lighting up.  Gray days, gray skies, gray moods, it’s the perfect time for comfort food.  But there lies the puzzle.  There are so many comfort foods, and they’re defined by the person, not the title.  But when I get right down to it, right now my mood calls for a hamburger.  And I know a really good one.

Onions and beef go together like they were made to.  I’ve made beef onion soup that was sublime.  I’ve made fried and bakes onions that would make you cry.  I’ve made meatloaf with an onion base that made grown people weep.  Well, not really on that last one.  They were probably weeping for some other reason.

I’ve seen many different types of onion burgers.  The most common version is this one:

onion burger 3

Basically, it’s a cheese burger with french fried onions on top of it.  It’s actually quite good with the onion flavor and the crunch.  I like cheese on my burgers, the more the better.  Most of this type go heavy on the cheese to lock the onions in place.  That’s a good thing in my opinion.  Maybe not, for others.

Another fairly common variety is the onion chopped into the burger.  That’s okay, except the onions don’t get cooked enough so often have a very sharp bite to them.

onion burger 5

Some people substitute the fresh onion for dried onion soup mix blended into the raw hamburger then cooked.  That’s my least favorite because the other flavors in the soup mix overpower the hamburger and it tastes like a really bad meatloaf on a bun.  I’ve tried putting dried minced onion into the burger, but like fresh onion in the burger, it doesn’t have time to blend and cook so it is a less than satisfactory solution.

So, really, you need to cook the onion before putting it with the burger.  Mostly, this is the result:

onion burger 2

It’s not a bad burger at all.  The onion can get a little slimy and slippery if they aren’t done correctly, but  I’ve seldom had one that wasn’t perfect.  Particularly when the onions are fried with butter.  Another way to cook the onion before it’s on the burger gives it a charred flavor and keeps the onion nearly fresh.  This works best with a sweeter onion, like a Vidalia.  Grilling the onion over a fire before putting it on the burger is a real treat.  Just make sure to oil the grates so the onion doesn’t stick.

onion burger 4

But the burger I’m going to share with you now is one where the onions and burger are fried together, created a single patty with two layers with wonderful flavor.  I’m going to give you the recipe for three burgers, but you can expand or contract it at will.

First, you know that onions are mostly water.  To make this burger work, you have to pull as much water out of the onion as you can.  This requires a couple of steps.  First, you have to slice the onion as thin as you can.  A mandolin is excellent for this, but barring that make sure your knife is sharp.  A sharp knife doesn’t release as many irritants so your eyes may not water when you’re cutting them.  Second, place the sliced onion in a colander in the sink and sprinkle with salt.  The cutting action and the salt will draw out a ton of water.  After thirty minutes, use a fork to move the onions to a clean dish towel and wrap and squeeze as hard as you can to remove more water.

Okay, here’s the drill.

Take a pound of hamburger and divide into three equal pieces and from into balls.  On a serving tray, divide the onion into three mounds.  Place a hamburger ball over each mound and press down firmly forming a patty over the onions.  Shape into a round patty about a half inch thick.  Press firmly so onions stick to the burgers.  In a large skillet, melt a tablespoon of butter over medium heat.  When the butter has stopped foaming, use a spatula to place each burger in the skillet onion side down.  Cook until onions are brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes.  Turn the heat up high and carefully flip the burger.  Cook for another 2-4 minutes until the burger is at the desired “doneness.”  Place the burgers on prepared buns, and add condiments of choice.

onion burger 5

This is a wonderful burger with the strong flavor of onion and beef.  Hope you like it too!

Enjoy!

 

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