There was once a period of my life where, for health reasons, I had to go on a very restricted diet. This diet had absolutely no meat on it. When I could finally start eating real food again, I continued to avoid meat, along with spicy food, and several other things that were especially problematic. In fact, I just about convinced myself that I really didn’t need to eat meat anymore, and could be perfectly happy as a vegetarian.
Then came the day when, at a restaurant, I broke down and ate a burger. All my dreams of a life of nice, healthy, vegetarianism came crashing down around me. I haven’t given up meat since.
Don’t get me wrong, I have all the admiration in the world for people who have the willpower to abstain from the delectable treat of burgers. I just can’t do it. There is nothing more perfect to me than a delicious hunk of meat with cheese, tomatoes, and whatever other fabulous stuff you feel like topping your burger with. It is hard to go wrong.
I made these burgers last night because, to be quite honest, I bought too much ground meat for meatballs. Any meatball worth its name has at least two kinds of meat in it. When there are only two of you in the house, and your butcher sells ground meat by the pound, you end up with a lot of meatballs. Way more than the two of us actually need. So instead, I saved half my meat mix (beef and pork) to make burgers. It is far too cold in Minnesota to break out the grill, but in pinch it is totally possible to sear a beautiful burger in a skillet.
So here it is. My seared winter burgers, loaded with fresh bruschetta, and so delicious you’ll make again and again.
Ingredients (Makes 4 patties):
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 handful fresh basil, chopped
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 more handful fresh basil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 buns
- 2 T butter
- Garlic salt
- Dried parsley
Make the bruschetta first. Dice the tomatoes, mince garlic cloves, and chop 1 handful basil. Combine in a large bowl, with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Set in fridge to marinate until you are ready for it.
To make the burger patties, put both meats, parsley, basil, and 1/4 cup of the mozzarella in a large mixing bowl with salt and pepper. Mix together gently. Be carful not to overwork, or the meat will get dry. Form the meat into 1/4 pound patties. Sprinkle top and bottom generously with salt. This will give it the nice crust you want on a seared burger. Heat a skillet with a little butter or oil on medium heat. When hot, set patties down on the skillet. Cover to let cook through. This is a burger you will probably want to cook to medium or medium-well, because of the ground pork. We cooked it to medium well. When the bottom is nice and crispy, flip the burger over and re-cover. After a couple minutes, generously top burgers with the remaining cheese. Let cook until the other side is crispy as well. Remove from heat.
Blend together the butter, garlic salt, and dried parsley. Spread on top and bottom of each bun. After removing the burgers from the skillet, press the buttered side of each bun onto the skillet. Let sear for only about 30 seconds. You just want to melt the butter and slightly toast the inside of the bun.
To assemble the burger, put a generous spoonful of bruschetta on the bottom bun. Put burger with cheese on top of the bruschetta, then cover with the top bun. Serve immediately!
Enjoy with an ice cold brewskie, and feel like you are at a fancy-schmancy burger joint!