Meat reheat part 4 – Donegal Beef and Cashel Blue Cheese Burger. My challenge to America.

IMG_8146Over a year ago, I posted about my home-made burger. On reflection, I have to admit that there was little to make it stand out from the crowd. Time for a big rethink. Time for a reheat and while I’m at it, time for a challenge. There are over 300 million of you out there who believe that you make the best burgers in the world. Yes, Americans, I’m talking about you. You certainly make and eat the most burgers, consuming over 40,000,000,000 of them each year. Yes, forty billion burgers. But the best? I doubt it. Not withstanding the growing horse meat scandal across Europe, that will run for donkey’s years, we have the better ingredients here in Ireland. 

Now, the challenge. Beat my Donegal Beef and Cashel Blue Cheese Burger if you can. The beef is grown in the lush pastures just outside the town of Lifford in County Donegal, the most northerly county in Ireland. Cashel Blue is one of the world’s finest blue cheeses, produced with great care in County Tipperary.

Small side note: Tipperary is the Wife’s home county. Everything out of Tipperary is magnificent. (Just thought I should let you know.)

So, what am I serving it with? I could just squeeze some tomato sauce over it, throw on some lettuce and onion and pop it in a corn syrup sweetened bun. Then all I would have to do is crack a Bud and serve it with some extruded Freedom Fries. Hmmm….

No, it will be served with paprika sweet potato chips, thyme leaves, roasted parsnip chips, English mustard, and an Irish chutney. The wine to accompany this world beater is French (To make up for the fries perhaps?).

Fine french wine

Fine french wine. Chateau Fourcas Hosten 2004. A fine Medoc to go with a fine burger.

Enough sniping, here’s the ingredient’s shot:

Blue Cheese Burger

My meat looks like a brain. That is because it is two kinds of beef mince, rib and round.

I use two mince types to get the right mix of meat to fat and also to have a blend of meat types.

My burger ingredient list is as follows:

  • 1 kilo (2.2lb) of good quality mince (half rib, half round)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 big handfuls of breadcrumbs
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of hot paprika
  • Cashel Blue Cheese (or a substitute if necessary) for filling
  • Balsamic vinegar to paint the burgers

The rest of the ingredients:

  • A few parsnips
  • A sweet potato
  • Thyme
  • English mustard powder
  • Sheridan’s ‘Chutney for Cheese’ or similar.

First, put all the burger ingredients except the balsamic into a bowl.

Blue Cheese Burger

I realise that this is not a very complicated recipe. Trust me, it is worthy if simple. A little like myself in some respects.

Next comes the hard work. Mix it up. I did it by hand. You might want to do it with a mixer. There’s a lot of mixing.

Blue Cheese Burger

I was left panting after the manual labour. Still, it’s mixed and smelling good.

Next comes a small bit of inventiveness. Regular readers will know that I use pastry cutters for a huge range of functions from poaching eggs to shaping black and white pudding. I now turn them to burger making.

Blue Cheese Burger

One pastry cutter packed full of meat. Just enough for the base of the burger.

A pastry cutter two-thirds full makes enough for the lid. Shape them out by hand till they look like this picture.

Blue Cheese Burger

The recess in the burger is big enough for a couple of generous slices of Cashel Blue.

Add the cheese and then manipulate the lid onto the burger.

Blue Cheese Burger

Don’t be fooled by the seemingly small piece of cheese. These burgers are huge. One per person, no matter how hungry you are.

The lid manipulated and integrated into the base.  Nobody knows there is a big lump of beautiful cheese in there, except you and me.

Blue Cheese Burger

This is the biggest burger I have ever made. It’s not like me to go large. Is it?

You should get four burgers out of the kilo of beef, if you skimp a little. I did not skimp and got three with some mince over.

Blue Cheese Burger

My secret to a tasty exterior. Paint them with balsamic.

Next step is to put them on the griddle and cook the outside.

Blue Cheese Burgers

Blue Cheese Burgers cooking on the griddle. Burgers don’t get much better than this.

While that is doing, peel and chop the vegetables.

Peeled vegetables

Peeled vegetables ready for the slicing. I believe I should show the unseemly side of cooking too.

Next the sweet potatoes get  a coating of olive oil and paprika.

Sweet potatoes and paprika

These take 25 minutes in a 200 degree Centigrade oven.

Then the parsnips get a coating of olive oil and black pepper.

Parsnips

These take 20 minutes in a 200 degree Centigrade oven.

Finish the burgers off in the oven for ten minutes. This will ensure they are cooked through. When they are done, take them out and let them rest for a couple of minutes.

Blue Cheese Burger

The parsnip and sweet potato fries were excellent. A bit of sweetness from the chutney balanced by heat from the mustard.

If you made them right, they will not leak their cheese interior until you cut into them and  let a flood of incredibly flavourful, aromatic cheese pour out onto your plate.

Blue Cheese Burger

I’m sorry America. I have stolen your culinary clothes. This blue cheese burger is the best there is. Period.

The flavours are big, bold and work incredibly well together. This truly is the prince of burgers in a world of pretending patty paupers. Try it and see for yourself. Once again, sorry America. If you think you can do better, let me know…

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Latest comments
  • Not really a burger maker but if I did I would use Charolais beef mixed with salt and pepper, no bread crumbs, no eggs, topped with Papillon roquefort cheese, tomato, onion and Hellman’s mayonnaise. In fact, I wish I had one right now 🙂

    • That sounds delicious Rosemary. the roquefort swung it!

  • I started with little hope on seeing the golden arches but as I read further the yearning for a Donegal Beef and Cashel Blue Cheese Burger grew. Having reached the end, I am now starving. You cooked it to perfection.

    • Hi Maria, it is really quite tasty. Thanks for the kind comments.

  • Interesting but not really a burger now is it? Egg? breadcrumbs? What you have seems more like a small, stuffed meatloaf. The Balsamic is a nice touch though.
    I make my burgers with a good glop of Chinese Oyster Sauce mixed into the meat (85% lean) for seasoning and moistness. Grill it and top with stuff of your choice (blue cheese is great!), serve on a good roll and enjoy.

    • Amazing, you accuse me of not making a burger and then throw in Chinese Oyster Sauce! I admire your internationalism.
      Best,
      Conor

  • Nice post. I must say I make a mean burger over here in the States. Always use meat from our local farm. That’s most important for sure. Who can trust that mass market grocery store meat anymore? I like the balsamic idea. Yummy!

    • We are suffering a major horse meat scandal here in Europe. Lots of the processed beef is turning out to be a horse of a different colour, if you will pardon the awful pun. Go local where you can.
      Best,
      Conor

  • Commendable that you managed to stuff the pattie with cheese without it bursting out all over the pan which is invariably what happens when I attempt this sort of thing. Jenga sweet potato fries look impressive too!

    • Great description. There was a bit of Jenga getting them to stand up too.

  • God, 40 billion burgers. That’s insane. We get our ground beef from a local farm. So no surprises. I like the idea of balsamic vinegar. We usually use Worcestershire Sauce in ours.

    • It appears to be an awful lot of burgers per capita, particularly when you strip out the vegetarian populace. A good idea to strip them out anyway!

      • 🙂 they’re people too! It’s mindboggling the amount of food some people eat.

  • The only time I tried to make a burger, it turned out to be a super flop show. Maybe it’s time to give it a go again, Conor style …

  • Looking good – and delicious!

  • Great looking grill marks on that patty. I also love bleu cheese stuffed burgers. Your technique is similar to mine in Smoked Fourth of July Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Sirloin Burgers, http://remcooks.com/2012/07/05/smoked-fourth-of-july-bacon-wrapped-stuffed-sirloin-burgers/. 40,000,000,000, eh? That works out to roughly 130 burgers per person per year, or roughly 30% of the US population’s diet. Baby Lady & I hardly contribute to that number because I may eat 2 or 3 a year while she may eat 1. Nonetheless, they are good and I sure do enjoy them when I do get one.

    • Bacon wrapped. Now there’s an idea. When one thinks of the number of non burger eaters and light consumers, some folk must eat them four times a day. Not that I could consider cooking them more often than a few times a year.

  • That just has a whole lot of WOW going on. I got to try stuffing my burger… and soon!

    • Do Wendy. The blue cheese makes for a taste explosion. Very powerful stuff.

  • I like your style, even if you did just throw down the gauntlet in front of all Americans. Ha! The first time I ever had a bleu cheese stuffed burger, I was in heaven, so you are definitely barking up the right tree with that one.

    • Thanks for that. I thought I may as well get it out there and see what happens.

  • Nothing like a bleu cheese stuffed burger and you’ve made a good one here, grill marks and all.

    • Thanks John, it was a lovely sound when the knife went in and released the cheese. Delicious, though I say so myself.

  • Great post, Conor! I love the photo of the wine. Beautiful plating and a great achievement to cook the burger with the cheese staying inside! I love blue cheese with beef and I also love the sides you made. I would eat many more burgers if they were always like this!
    According to some Yanks there should only be beef in burgers and nothing else. Although that would be a different burger and perhaps more beefy, I do believe I’d enjoy yours!
    The only person/thing I’ve ever met from Tipperary certainly was magnificent 🙂 Please give her a kiss from the both of us.

    • Thanks Stefan, you have brought a smile to both our faces this morning. One comment (from an American) suggests Oyster Sauce. It’s the different approaches that make it fun. Though that might be too much fun for me.

      • You know how puritan I can be 😉 That’s why I like the idea of using beef only, and oyster sauce is not very likely to end up in any burger of my making…

  • As ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ [sorry 🙂 !] the Cashel bleu will have to be a substitution of course, but otherwise love everything on the plate. especially the sweet potato and parsnip fries – and, yea, no bun! Glory be!!! Of course egg goes in and breadcrumbs, tho’ matzoh meal instead of the crumbs + a few drops of soda water fluff the ‘dough’ up even more 😀 !

    • Send pictures!

      • As soon as I prep next . . . if my blessed camera still working 😉 !

  • I don’t know that I could top this one, I’m craving a nice burger like yours with that blue cheese in the center! And those sweet potatoes.. your plate looks like a truly gourmet burger plate! No, I won’t try to top this, I wouldn’t stand a chance:)

    • Thanks Barbara, it really is easy to put together. Go on, give it a go!

  • That is quite the challenge! I’ve got to think about this one and come up with something to rival your burger! And it is a burger!! What a sweetie you are with that shout-out to your wife! 🙂

    • Thanks Lidia, I look forward to seeing it. On the Wife front, she is worth the occasional shout.

  • I’m not a cheese burger kinda guy myself, but this looks mighty fine. I will be pinching your balsamic tip though; you just know instinctively that will work. Great photos too as ever, but Connor, the horse meat gags are a non-starter. Fear you are flogging a …

    Excellent as always.

    • Thanks Adam. On the horse meat jokes, you are closing the stable door….

  • I bet these are super delish..

  • Conor, challenge accepted. Although I think you’ve already won. There’s a time and a place for greasy, fast food hamburger patties. But no respectable person enjoys those at home, when you can get amazing ingredients like these. Well done sir, well done.

    • Thanks Tommy, I am hoping somebody takes me on and wins. I want to be proven wrong. 40,000,000,000 is an awful lot of burgers and there must be at least one decent one. There must.

  • Looks absolutely delicious and yet you managed to keep it relatively healthy with the vegetable fries. I’ve been making my own (somewhat humbler) versions for years but recently discovered burgers topped with pulled pork. I know it’s not really in the spirit of your challenge, and I’m not American, but good grief, it was good…. 🙂

    • Hi Phil, I am happy to extend the challenge to a global level. I’d love to see that pork!

  • Looks amazing Conor!

  • I’m quite sure a finer looking plate cannot be found anywhere in the States!

    • One or two planning a rebuttal. I wait with baited breath….

    • Yes. But what about the food? Surely there is something better in Gourmandistan?

  • I want to come to your burger joint…hands down the winner in my opinion! There certainly isn’t any competition in my part of the country.

    • Thanks Karen, I was hoping you might take up the offer of transcontinental gastronomic combat. That is, if we can call burger making gastronomic.

      • I think I would rather see you take on the fight with someone else. I can’t see myself going in to battle against a friend. Cook alongside side you in battle is another thing…I would be happy to watch your back. 🙂

  • Hands down winner I’d say, well done. The thoughts of melted Cashel Blue has me drooling into my keyboard.

    • Thanks Aoife, they do make an excellent cheese.
      Best,
      Conor

  • Why does everyone think that the country that they reside in has the best beef? Let’s be real everybody… Cows (all of them) should eat grass not corn. They should drink water from rivers etc. and not from plastic fluoride filled barrels but most of all, farming needs regulation. Moooooooooove over er body, and make way for Irish beef!

    Tight regulations, very green grass (not brown), natural water from natural sources and all thanks to the shit weather. Beef: Yes we can!

    Unrelated: There’s nothing wrong with horse by the way, it’s lean and probably organic.

  • That looks great, Conor. I love the hidden Cashel blue.

  • Reblogged this on Good Food Everyday and commented:
    Conor’s blog has been awarded

  • Quite lovely.

    • Thanks for that. I love the blog title. The lost Kerryman. It says a lot about our past and, sadly, our present too.
      Best,
      Conor

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