In the midst of my 18,000 word missive on the food in Philly, I addressed my feelings on what should be considered a good burger. I was sick of complicated restaurant burgers with foie gras and chutney instead of bacon and ketchup being considered the best in a city just because they essentially buy your taste buds. So I ranted about it. But you likely missed that since the post was intolerably long.
Allow me to refresh you on my thoughts. A great burger is ground beef, heavily salted and peppered, charred on a rarely cleaned grill, and served on a simple bun with a strong cheese and mushrooms/bacon/onions/condiments as desired. Simple and really delicious, it especially helps if the ground beef is closer to 80/20 than 93/7.
That doesn’t mean I avoid messing around with burgers and trying to come up with new delicious ways to eat them. I love trying to make new stuff (very eloquent, Pete). So, while I will address the perfect traditional burger and the famous Dupee burger at another time, let’s kick off this new post category with the burger we made in Naples, FL last week: The Wellington Burger.
We made a Beef Wellington over Christmas in Michigan 5 or 6 years ago and I wasn’t the biggest fan. Each component sounded awesome; beef tenderloin, liver pate, duxelles (mixture of mushrooms, onions, and shallots), all wrapped in pastry dough. It ended up being way too much in my opinion; just insanely rich. But stuffed in a burger…. that had some potential.
We started out by throwing a sliced red onion in a pan to caramelize and sauteing a half pound of sliced mushrooms in butter.
While those cooked, I got the other ingredients prepped. First, the duck liver mousse.
The selection of what kind of liver pate to use wasn’t that complicated since Mommy Ryan had a block of duck liver mousse in her fridge. She is a Ryan after all, and odds are that if you look in a Ryan fridge or freezer there will be some form of liver product somewhere. Makes choices in these situations easy.
The ground beef headed into a bowl for seasoning with lots of salt and pepper.
With the ground beef mixed and the onions and mushrooms cooked, the burgers were ready for final prep before grilling.
I combined big spoonfuls of the onions and mushrooms and a thick slab of the duck liver mousse in a bowl and mashed together for each burger.
On wax paper I flattened out large thin patties of the ground beef to roughly the same size. The idea was that two patties would surround the filling and be pinched together at the edges. Each burger got a hefty spoonful of the filling.
Throw the 2nd half on top, pinch the corners, and you have what looks like an innocuous normal burger. Albeit an extremely large one.
The three stuffed burgers went onto a hot grill along with three normal burgers (Tim and I both wanted the best of both worlds). Big error was putting them all on the grill at the same time since we only wanted the stuffed ones to cook well done with the lid down. Pretty stupid; the regular burgers ended up medium-well, which is how you narrowly avoided this being my preachy post about a correctly-made real hamburger.
From the grill directly onto the essential toasted Martin’s potato rolls, served along with extra condiments and toppings as needed.
I had to slice into the Wellington and check it out, it would have been less enjoyable without doing so.
Despite my previous complaints about traditional Beef Wellington, you can’t combine this many delicious ingredients, in this type of preparation, and have it come out poorly. The flavor was rich, very decadent, and delicious. A stuffed burger is the only case where well-done is an acceptable temperature because the contrast of textures is great and the meat stays moist from the filling. Really amazing, but not really a hamburger.
Next week will either be the crazy surf and turf I referenced previously or something else. I pickup a cooler full of cow organs this weekend courtesy of Uncle Billy, so, you’ve got that going for you.