Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Niman Ranch Burgers

Apparently I'm on some sort of Barefoot Contessa kick lately. My dinner plan for last night failed (more on that in my next post!!), so I quickly had to come up with something new to make at 5:30. I had made hamburger buns to use with my original dinner plan, so I figured I'd just go with some kind of burger. I remembered that my friend Jen B. had made these burgers and raved about them, so I pulled out my Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook to see if I had everything on hand for them. I did! Well, mostly but I'll get to that in a minute.

Niman Ranch Burgers

1-2 pounds ground Niman Ranch beef OR other beef (80 percent lean and 20 percent fat)
1 tablespoon good Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for brushing the grill
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 sandwich-size English muffins, halved OR toasted hamburger buns of your choice
Good mayonnaise, for topping
Caramelized Onions, recipe follows

Build a charcoal fire or heat a gas grill.

Place the ground beef in a large bowl and add the mustard, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix gently with a fork to combine, taking care not to compress the ingredients. Shape the meat into 6 (3 1/2-inch) patties of equal size and thickness.

When the grill is medium-hot, brush the grill grate with oil to keep the burgers from sticking. Place the burgers on the grill and cook for 4 minutes. Using a big spatula, turn the burgers and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until medium-rare or more, or cook longer if you prefer hamburgers more well done.

Meanwhile, break apart the English muffins and toast the 6 halves cut side down on the grill. Spread each half with mayonnaise and top with a burger and then with a heaping tablespoon of caramelized onions. Serve hot.

Caramelized Onions

2 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds yellow onions, peeled and sliced in half-rounds
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large shallow pot, add the onions and thyme, and toss with the oil. Place the lid on top and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes to sweat the onions. Remove the lid and continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes, until the onions are caramelized and golden brown. If the onions are cooking too fast, lower the heat. Add the vinegar, salt, and pepper and cook for 2 more minutes, scraping the brown bits from the pan. Season to taste (they should be very highly seasoned).


I had to make a few slight changes. Like, I don't keep Niman Ranch beef on hand. I wish I could...it sounds fantastic! But, at $7/pound it's kind of out of my price range for ground beef. And I don't know where to get it here in Phoenix. I didn't have English muffins, but that was fine because I had made whole wheat hamburger buns with the intention of using them. Sadly I didn't have enough time for the onions to really caramelize, but they were almost there.

The husband had one burger as written in the recipe and one with ketchup, onions, and American cheese. He said the one with cheese was his favorite, but I think if I were to have cheese on it, I'd want something like Swiss or Monterey Jack, but I really liked them as they were--mayo and the onions. These were a really tasty, flavorful, easy burger to throw together! We will be having these again.

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