Monday, January 4, 2010

"Burgers 1" ~ a review

I wrote about getting this new cookbook in my last post. Since I've decided to try it out, I thought I would review the recipes as I go. My apologies in not having a photo to match this recipe .. sometimes cooking dinner for a hungry family and taking photos just do not go hand in hand.

~My new cookbook, as I try to sneak more fruit & veggies into my/our diets~

In the interest of space, I'm going to type out how I made the dish, which may or may not follow the recipe in the book to the letter. Sometimes you run out of things, or inspiration calls me elsewhere. I will make sure to note the proper title of the recipe though, as well as the page it can be found on, for those who want to look it up themselves. Here we go.

Burgers 1 - page 111:

*1 lb ground beef
(pasture-raised & from Bright Farm in Floyd)
*1 cup breadcrumbs - at the suggestion of my sister-in-law, Gemma, I used fresh, homemade bread & crumbled it up. Our homemade bread is made with a mixture of local unbleached white & whole wheat flour, flax seed meal, and local honey.
*4 TB Ketchup - again, I used my homemade ketchup that was made with our own organically grown heirloom tomatoes.
*1 cup carrot puree - made with organic carrots
*4 cloves garlic, minced

~ Blend all ingredients well, and form into small patties. I tried to keep in mind that a serving size of meat is approximately the size of a deck of cards & made the burgers no larger. I got 9 patties of varying sizes.
~ Heat up your skillet, I used my trusty cast-iron one as it holds heat so well. I heated it up on high, then kept it somewhere around medium, adjusting higher or lower as needed. Pour a little olive oil in, no more than a tablespoon or two. Put your patties in the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes or so per side.
~ We served these with a slice of American cheese for the kids, and then for us a slice of American cheese, homemade zucchini relish, homemade ketchup, and mustard. All of the burgers were served on whole-wheat hamburger buns (store-bought) that I had open-face toasted in our little toaster oven.

The Substitutions & Changes:
*The recipe was actually for 1/2 the amount of meat, but since I had thawed a pound I decided to double the recipe and freeze the leftovers. *A good idea for a quick meal for a night where time is rushed!*
*The recipe also calls for using 1/4 cup (or in my case, 1/2 cup) skim milk. 1) We don't have skim milk and likely never will. 2) I was worried this would make things too moist, so decided to leave out the milk till the end to see if it was needed. Gemma, my Italian sister-in-law, swears that using fresh bread for breadcrumbs will increase the moisture, while using store-bought will make meat dry. I trusted her knowledge here (you gotta try her meatballs!). Our moisture content was fine.
*The recipe also called for using low-sodium soy sauce. We use tamari in place of soy sauce, but happened to be all out. Since I put carrots into my basic tomato sauce I made the decision to use some homemade ketchup in place of the soy sauce. 1) Ketchup & Burgers just go hand in hand. 2) I know the veggies that go into my ketchup and felt it was a healthy decision.

The Review:
These made themselves into patties quite nicely, and we only had minimal problems with crumbling - no more than we would usually have as we test out new burger recipes.
Justin got worried that these really were not cooking as quickly as the cookbook said they would. We decided to try grilling them, but it seems our grill doesn't like cold cold weather and wouldn't work right. The recipe says to finish them off in the oven, at 400 degrees. We were already baking some fries at about that temperature, so we tossed the first round of burgers on a pan and into the oven to finish off. The second round of burgers (can't cook them all at one time on the skillet!) seemed to cook with better timing. Perhaps it's just been a while since we've cooked burgers indoors on the skillet?? One thing we did notice was this: as the carrot cooked it seemed to darken a little, which gave the appearance of the meat not being done. All said and done though, this was only a minor hiccup.
Taste - actually very yummy!! The kids didn't notice that these burgers were any different than ones they've had before. They did have a slightly more "veggie" taste to them that I noticed, however I've also noticed a very intense beef flavor when we've made just straight-up hamburgers. I'm wondering if using the soy sauce wouldn't help give it more of a beefy flavor. However, it didn't taste like a veggie-burger, and was still really good. It was moist and delicious!!

I will definitely be making this one again. All four of us liked it, and that's good enough for me. I liked knowing there were extra veggies in my burger. I am eager to try it using soy sauce (or, more accurately, tamari) instead of ketchup. If the results are significantly different I will let you know. Otherwise, if you want to make your burgers a little more healthy for you, then I would definitely recommend making these!

~~A Follow-Up Review: ~~
Like I said, I made a double batch of these for freezing and serving again later. Leftovers rock, plain and simple. I heated the kids each up a burger for lunch one day this past week, zapping it in the microwave. They crumbled. <-- The burgers that is, not the kids.
Perhaps it was some of the substitutions? Would "true" bread crumbs have been better at keeping it a little drier? Was that the problem? Justin blames the carrots. I'm not certain. It wasn't necessarily a end-of-the-world, awful crumbling, but a crumbling none-the-less, which made lunch messy. Shannon didn't have such a hard time (he's almost 6), but it did take Tristan a bit to get the hang of how to eat it without it all falling out of the bun (he's 3 1/2).
Points deducted.
I'll still try the recipe again. But it is really a big thing to be able to have leftovers we can eat again. We'll see, and I'll let you know!

1 comment:

Justin said...

Upon reheating the burgers for the boys' lunch, the consistency seemed to be more "mushy/crumbly" than when originally cooked. This might have been because they had been frozen and then upon thawing out there was more moisture. Even upon original cooking the burgers fell apart pretty easily though, but after reheating it was even worse. Like Carrie mentioned, I do think this has more to do with the carrots than the substitutions we made...although if using bread instead of "true" bread crumbs is supposed to give more moisture then maybe the "true" crumbs would have helped keep things together better. Still, I think cutting the amount of carrot puree in half would produce a burger that sticks together better.