Inspire Hamburger

There are few dishes as versatile as the hamburger and here we are attempting to raise it to gourmet food status. The secret to gourmet cooking is using the best of fresh ingredients as close to harvest as possible and any additives should be as high a quality as possible.

Ingredients

  • bottle of Williamson Amour Merlot  ·  1 whole 
  • minced shallots  ·  1/4 cup 
  • unsalted butter, at room temperature  ·  9 tablespoons 
  • golden brown sugar  ·  2 teaspoons 
  • minced fresh rosemary  ·  1 tablespoon 
  • salt  ·  1 teaspoon 
  • ground beef (15%- 20% fat)  ·  1½  pounds 
  • ground black pepper  ·  ½  teaspoon 
  • Vegetable oil  ·  2 teaspoons 
  • (packed) coarsely grated Irish Cheddar cheese  ·  1 cup 
  • 4 1/2-inch squares focaccia, cut horizontally in half  ·  4 portions 
  • arugula  ·  2 cups 

Instructions

For this recipe have your local butcher coarse grind some beef, fresh round, chuck or sirloin or a combination and don’t ask for lean, you need a fat content of 15% or more. Alert the butcher, you want to have this meat ground on the same day you intend to cook so take it home and grill it right away.

Boil wine and shallots in medium sauté pan until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and transfer reduction to a small bowl, cooling for 5 minutes.

Add 1 tablespoon butter and brown sugar; whisk until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cool mixture completely before adding to ground beef.

Mix remaining 8 tablespoons butter and rosemary in small bowl. Set aside.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat).

Mix beef, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup wine-shallot mixture in bowl. Form meat into 5-inch squares or rounds about one inch thick. Make the meat patty slightly larger than the bread and don't pack the meat too firmly, just firm enough to hold together on the grill.

Brush grill rack with oil and grill burgers until brown on bottom, about 3 minutes.

Turn burgers and brush with wine-shallot mixture.

Continue grilling burgers until cooked to desired doneness, turning and brushing occasionally with wine-shallot mixture, about 4 minutes longer for medium-rare.

Add cheese after last turn and grill until cheese melts.

Spread cut sides of bread with rosemary butter. On low heat, grill, cut side down, until golden, about 2 minutes. Arrange bread, grilled side up, on plates. Top bottom halves with burgers and arugula. Cover with top halves of bread.

NOTE: Sauté pans like frypans, or skillets, are wide and shallow with a large surface area and low sides permitting even temperature distribution across the whole of the liquid. Using a sauté pan is important so the whole surface heats evenly rather than a saucepan with vertical sides about the same height as the diameter in which the bottom of the liquid heats at a different rate to the top.

If you prefer a more traditional style of burger topping you could substitute the arugula with all of the following:

  • Slices of Beefsteak tomato about ¼ inch thick
  • Slices of red Bermuda onion about ¼ inch thick
  • Slices of pickled beets

Always choose the freshest ingredients and prepare as near to eating time as possible. All the vegetables should be cool and crisp when served.

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