Monday, September 9, 2013

Homemade ricotta pesto beef burger with potato latkes and crispy onion rings

home made pesto and ricotta burger potato latkes and crispy onion rings
You hardly meet anyone who says they don’t like a good, juicy hamburger. My husband would eat a burger every day if he could! Creating the ‘ultimate’ burger and potato side dish for a recipe-development challenge took some thought and inspiration.
With all the Jewish holidays - Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur - I was inspired to make some Jewish cuisine, and thought that potato latkes would work well (although these are normally served at Hanukkah) !

I also very recently lost a dear cousin. He died very suddenly and unexpectedly at the tender age of 15. He was such a vibrant character, who called a spade, a spade and who loved to cook. He dreamt of becoming the next Jamie Oliver and often wowed family members with culinary experiments, one of which was his famous burger recipe. He put the success down to a secret ingredient he used in the patty. I never got to find out what that secret ingredient was, and I thought about him constantly while making this dish – hoping that he would have approved of my wacky combination. So I dedicate this recipe to him and to the memory of his greatness.
pesto burger patty with a ricotta surprise centre

Tomato-pickle relish

1/4 onion, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1tsp chilli (1 added grocery item)
3 Tbs sugar
1Tbs Spur basting sauce
2Tbs finely chopped pickles

Chef’s note: Start making this first, as the relish will need to cook down while you make all the other items.
In a pot, fry up the onion in a little oil. Add tomatoes, chilli, sugar and Spur basting sauce. Season with salt and pepper and cook until liquid has reduced and tomatoes have softened. Add pickles and check sugar levels, adding more if necessary. It must have a sweet-sour taste. Total cooking time should be about an hour.

Pesto burger patties with ricotta surprise

500g beef chuck, minced
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 extra-large egg
2 Tbs Spur basting sauce (plus extra for basting)
3 Tbs Basil Pesto (2nd grocery item)
Ricotta cheese (1 fresh ingredient)

Combine all ingredients (except for ricotta) in a bowl and set aside. Make 8 flat patties (about 7mm thick). Set four down onto a tray. Take 1 Tbs of ricotta cheese, squeeze out moisture, and place onto the centre of one patty. Repeat with the other three patties. Place four remaining patties on top and squeeze edges together to seal, so that patties have a ‘surprise’ ricotta inner. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Once done, heat a griddle pan to medium-high. Cook the patties 4 minutes a side. Remove and baste with a little Spur Basting Sauce and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before assembling burgers.
Chef’s note: patties will shrink slightly
Crispy onion rings

1 onion
1 cup flour (you can substitute with gluten-free flour)
pinch salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1 extra large egg
1 Tbs canola oil, plus more for frying

Slice 1 brown onion into rings about 5mm thick. Place into ice water for 30 minutes. In the mean time make the batter by sifting dry ingredients together and then whisking in milk, egg and oil. The batter should be slightly thick, which is what you want. Remove onion rings from water, place on a paper towel to dry and then transfer to the bowl of batter. Place 1.5cm of oil in a pan and heat until hot. Using tongs, place battered onion rings into oil and cook 10 seconds per side (or until golden and puffed). Place on a paper-towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.

Potato Latkes
potato latkes

3 to 4 potatoes
3 eggs
1 Tbs finely chopped onion
2Tbs flour (you can substitute with gluten-free flour)
pinch salt
1/2 cup canola oil

Grate potatoes and set aside in a colander to drain. Pat grated potatoes with paper towels until the majority of the moisture is gone (you made need to do this a number of times). Beat the eggs in a separate bowl to combine. Add onions, flour and salt to the egg mixture and beat to combine. Add grated potatoes to the egg mixture and stir to combine. In a large pan, heat 1/2 cup of oil to hot. Take spoonfuls of latke mixture and drop into the pan, squashing down to form ‘patty’ rounds. Fry until crispy and golden in colour. Remove and drain on a paper-towel-lined plate. 
To assemble the Burgers:

Cut burger buns in half. Place a little tomato pickle relish on the bottom half of the bun. Place a lettuce leaf, a slice of tomato and top with the patty and the other half of the burger. Stick a sosatie stick through the centre and pile some onion rings ontop. Serve latkes on the side with tomato relish and halved pickles. For added crunch, place one latke on top of the lettuce, before the tomato on the burger buns – Yummy!!

ultimate home made burgers with crispy onion rings and potato latkes

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