I love a good burger. Don’t you? I don’t know what it is but the thought of one just screams of summer barbecues. I find one challenge with making my own though, and that’s coming up with new ways of turning a good burger into something more special. Now I would never bash the ol’ beef burger. Never, but finding a really good one is tough.
A few weeks ago I bought some pork mince on a whim on one trip to the butcher’s. I didn’t know what to do with it until I saw Gill Meller from River Cottage whip up some gorgeous-looking burgers on YouTube. I like how simple they are to make, and the combination of pork, sage and apples is, of course, a classic. So I decided to give this recipe a go. I looked through my herb stash and found that I didn’t have any sage. OK. No biggie I said, and allowed myself some leeway and used my trusty za’atar instead. (At the moment I’m using up some of my dried herbs and spices so that I can replenish with fresh ones.) I also ran out of seeds so I couldn’t toast my own. So I used some ground cinnamon to counteract the tartness of the apples. (I was tempted to add some honey in the mix but in the end I decided to leave it out. It would have given the burgers a more golden caramelised look but then got stuck on how much I would need. The taste would have been great.) It worked. This amount will give you around 8 small patties. Keep me posted if you make these for your next cookout.
This is the kind of food I like when I have people over during the summer. Add some fresh salad to the mix, throw some seasoned potatoes in the oven, make a lovely lemonade and you have an inexpensive supper right there. People, it’s officially Summer.
- 500g minced pork
- 2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into small cubes
- 1 egg, slightly beaten (optional)*
- 2 teaspoons za’atar
- pinch of salt
- around ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 to 5 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- a light dusting of flour, for your hands
- wholegrain mustard, to serve (optional)
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, using clean hands. The egg* is completely optional; I didn’t make use of it. However it will help bind the mixture if you choose to include it. Wash your hands before the next step.
Rub a little flour on your hands and form golf-ball-sized patties. Flatten them slightly and set them aside on a plate until your use up all of the pork mixture.
At this stage I would suggest placing them in the fridge for around half an hour or so. This will make grilling them much easier, as warm uncooked homemade burgers tend to crumble.
Take them out of the fridge and heat up a grill pan. I love my cast-iron one but use whatever you have. A non-stick pan works well too. Just make sure it is really really hot.
Grill the burgers for around 6 to 8 minutes per side, making sure they are cooked all the way through.
Top the burger with wholegrain mustard on a bun and serve with plenty of fresh vegetables. And yes, those you see in my photo are twins – two stacked on top of each other. So no. You are not seeing double.
(This recipe is very loosely adapted from the River Cottage YouTube Channel. The link is given above.)