Feta & Pesto Burgers

Feta & Pesto Burgers

So Sunday nights have become Burger Sundays. Thatís when I make my flat (and whoever else turns up) burgers Ė all totally from scratch, including the buns. After a couple of texts last Sunday afternoon, our dinner for three turned into a dinner for seven. But thatís ok. The tag-alongs brought wine so the last minute notice was forgiven.

This Sunday it was feta, pesto and beef burgers. You can buy the pesto but I prefer to make it myself. Itís much cheaper and has a much fresher taste. Keep the condiments to a minimum and donít feel the need to fill this with vegetables, it is a burger after all (insert some comment about meat and buns here).

I made the rookie move of buying regular over premium mince (hey, even us employed kids are poor sometimes). The patties end up shrinking to half the size and go swimming in a pan full of fat, which is kind of gross. Invest in some decent mince and do your body and your taste buds a favour.

Ingredients

Serves 4-5 average stomachs (or 2 food comas)

Patties:
  • 500g beef mince

  • 1 teaspoon salt


Pesto:
  • 4 cloves garlic

  • Ĺ cup roasted, salted cashews

  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan

  • Leaves of 1 bushy basil plant

  • Ĺ cup olive oil

  • Squeeze of lemon

  • Salt and pepper


Caramelised onions:
  • 2 brown onions, sliced

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

  • Splash of oil

  • A pinch of salt


Crumbled feta
Mesculin lettuce leaves
Mayo


Buns:
  • 420g high-grade flour

  • 1 sachet of instant yeast (8g)

  • 40g white sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 170ml milk

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 1 egg, separated

  • 30g butter, cubed, room temperature

  • Egg white

  • Sesame seeds or salt flakes to garnish


Method

  1. To make the buns, mix together the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Add the lemon juice to the milk and let it sit for five minutes so it curdles. Mix this into the dry mix followed by the egg white and then the yolk. Stir until the dough comes together. Add the butter in small pieces and knead it into the dough, only adding the next piece when the previous piece has been totally incorporated. Knead for around 15 minutes then leave to rise in a bowl covered in glad wrap in a warm place for a couple of hours. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down then split it into six (you will make more buns than patties). Gently form smooth balls and leave to rise a second time on a baking tray lined with baking paper for another hour. The other alternative is to warm your oven to 50 degrees then turn it off and leaving the buns to rise in the ovenís residual heat. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees; mix the egg white with a splash of water and brush liberally over the buns. Sprinkle the tops with salt flakes or sesame seeds then bake for 15-18 minutes until they are golden and make a hollow sound when tapped. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before slicing open.

  2. In a food processor, whizz up the garlic then add the basil leaves and whizz until all chopped up. Add in the cashews and pulse until roughly chopped. Next throw in the parmesan and squeeze of lemon. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil until you reach a consistency that you like. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

  3. To make the onions, sautť the onion slices in a splash of oil until soft and translucent. Add in the sugar and vinegar and simmer until the liquid has reduced and a sticky sauce develops.

  4. To make the patties, mix in the sea salt flakes into the mince with your hands. Split the mince into four or five patties and shape into discs. In a frying pan over a medium heat, fry the patties for about four minutes either side (until they are cooked to a level of your preference).

  5. To assemble the buns, spread pesto over the base of the bun followed by the crumbed feta. Place a patty over the top and the caramelised onions on top of that. Finish off with the lettuce leaves and the crown of the bun smeared with mayo. Secure the burger with a skewer if need be.

  6. Serve with oven fries or wedges.
This article first appeared in Issue 16, 2014.
Posted 5:12pm Sunday 20th July 2014 by Sophie Edmonds.