Thursday, February 5, 2009

in case you don't already know...

i love rachael ray. say what you will about her; i don't care. i think she's a genuine, down-to-earth person who cooks like the average person does - making the most out of what they have and making some damn tasty meals while she's at it.

now she calls herself the "self-proclaimed queen of burgers," but i think i have a burger that will give her a run for her money. i actually entered her "hey, can you cook" contest with these bad boys. obviously, i didn't get on the show, or else you would see a picture of the two of us together beneath this. instead, i will show you my favorite picture of her:

but i digress. these mini-burgers are a party fave among my friends. hopefully, your friends will like them as well!

errrca's bombin' mini-burgers

1 1/4 - 1 1/2 lbs. ground sirloin
1 large onion; 1/4 of the onion finely chopped, the rest of it thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped; one clove reserved
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped; a small handful reserved
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
10 basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
olive oil
salt & pepper

2 avocados
3 roma tomatoes
1 small log (5 oz) herbed goat cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 lemon
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
16 mini burger buns or small dinner rolls

in a saute pan, coat the bottom with olive oil. let it warm up gently over medium heat. put the thinly sliced onion into the pan and let the onions start sweating out. make sure to keep moving the onions around so that they don't brown and get crispy on the pan. salt and pepper the onions to taste and when the onion looks pretty soft (after about 5-6 min), drop the heat back to low, put a tight-fitting lid on it, and let the onions soften up even more while you're preparing the rest of the burger. make sure to check on them occasionally and stir them around.

to make the aioli, combine the mayo, lemon juice, reserved red pepper, reserved chopped garlic, and pinch of salt & pepper in a blender. blend and voila! you have your roasted red pepper aioli.

heat a grill pan on high heat. put the ground sirloin into a bowl with the finely chopped onion, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, red pepper, basil, worcestershire sauce, and salt & pepper. mix the burger mixture together. pat the meat down to the bottom of the bowl in an even layer and score the meat into equal quarters. each quarter will yield 4 mini-burger patties. form mini-patties and get them onto the grill, which should be nice and hot by now. while forming the patties, use your thumb to make a slight imprint into the center of the burger before you place it on the grill so you don't get the "burger bulge" coming up out of the top of the burger. since these are pretty small, they'll only take a few minutes on each side to cook up.

wash up, then start slicing your tomatoes, avocados, and goat cheese to top the burger. [before slicing the goat cheese, pop it in the freezer for 10 minutes. i find it's easier this way since the cheese won't stick to your fingers as badly and makes it sturdier to slice through.]

your onions should be sweet, soft, and dericious by now. turn the heat off and add the balsamic vinegar. stir it into the onions.

lay out your burger buns on a tray or large serving platter. assemble the burgers. here is how i assemble mine:

top bun
caramelized onions
goat cheese
bottom bun

you'll never appreciate a regular slider again.


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