Be surprised. Be very surprised … that you're actually looking at this thing that I call my dinner. It very nearly didn't happen. This whole production was riddled with one interruption after another. I'd almost given up after the fries decided to go and get itself seriously tanned. (Ignore the bits of black … look beyond that and see beautiful golden, melted, crispy cheese). Fortunately it came together quite nicely in the end or it would have been take-out food you're looking at. In fact, I'd make this again (and again) with extra vigilance on the timer (I'd actually set it but forgot to start it), ignore doorbells, phone calls, surprise visitors and an attention-demanding cat.
I had some mutton mince and decided I wanted to make a burger out of it.
I'd seen a beetroot relish at Zoe's that got me all excited knowing that it'll go perfectly with my burger. Then I realized I had no beetroot (funny, I usually do. I eat beetroot out of a can) … and not even a can anywhere in sight (I wonder why I have 5 cans of corn tho). While digging frantically hoping I'd find a stray one hiding in a dark corner on one of the many shelves, I came across a bottle of quince paste I'd forgotten about (among other things). Aha! Lightbulb! Bwiing!
Now then, there's the Improv Challenge (this month's theme is potatoes and cheese) and I still hadn't figured out what I was going to do until that time (it's been a crazy few weeks and this week isn't letting up any either). Lightbulb #2! Bwiing! Bwiing!
I'd decided to use Zoe's burger bun recipe (with some teeny modifications). I must say, this is THE burger bun! We get the commercially made ones here that look pretty good but crumbles too much, either that or too airy and full of holes, or the gourmet bakeries that charge you more for the buns than an actual burger. This one's perfect … not overly dense, soft but firm and not overly flavored to outshine the patty. Thanks, Zoe!
BURGER BUNS (adapted from Zoe's @ Bake for Happy Kids)
1 cup (250 ml) water
30 g butter, melted
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tbs active dry yeast
white sesame seeds
black sesame seeds
* I used my bread machine to do the kneading for me as usual.
Plonk all ingredients into bread machine bin in the order they're listed.
Use "Dough" setting.
When it's done, punch down with floured fist (they should make a kung fu movie with that title) to deflate the dough, remove from bread machine, knock it around a bit and divide into 8 equal parts. (If you prefer smaller buns, divide into 12 parts).
Form into balls and leave to prove for 45 minutes or until doubled in size on a lined baking tray (I used a Silpat) with enough space in between.
Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds (or not).
Bake in a 180˚C oven for 15 - 18 mins or until tops are lightly browned.
Cool on racks.
(I'd used half the portion of the dough and kept the other half (minus the 2nd rising) in the freezer. Just defrost, shape and leave to rise when needed)
MUTTON BURGER PATTIES
about 200 - 250 g minced mutton
80 - 100 g bacon, chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp salt (depending on how salty your bacon is)
2 tbs mayonnaise
2 tbs mild mustard / dijon (your preference, I used good ol' American mustard)
(This was enough for only 2 - 3 large patties. You can always make your patties smaller provided your buns are just as small. I had big buns … and I'm talking bread here.)
*Note: I don't like binders and fillers in my burgers. Feel free to add an egg and breadcrumbs to the mince if you like.
Place mince, bacon and fennel seeds into a food processor. Buzz until well combined and finely minced. Remove and place into a mixing bowl together with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
Form into tight patties and keep in the refrigerator until you're ready to grill or freeze them if you're not cooking them on the same day.
Grill until cooked through, about 4 - 5 minutes each side.
Leave to rest for a few minutes before assembling.
1 - 2 tbs quince paste
2 small onions, diced
1 red chilly, seeded and finely chopped
2 - 3 tbs chopped coriander
1 small japanese cucumber, center core removed and diced
juice of 1 lime
Toss everything together and leave in the fridge until ready to be used.
OVEN BAKED CHEESE FRIES
(don't let the looks fool you .. they actually taste very good!)
2 large waxy potatoes, cut into french fries sized sticks
monterey jack cheese
Place potato sticks on a lined baking pan in one layer. Do not overlap.
Grate cheese over potatoes. (It's up to you how much you want it to be).
Sprinkle paprika and cayenne pepper over that … again, it's all about how spicy you like your fries.
Dot butter all over and bake in a 200˚C oven for 10 -12 mins or until cheese has turned nice and golden. Serve immediately.
DISCLAIMER: This is by no means a healthy meal. Consider it an indulgence. Devour at your own risk.