How can you resist a burger with a name like the “Insanity Burger”? I certainly couldn’t and it was one of the first recipes that caught my eye in Jamie Oliver’s new cookbook Jamie’s Comfort Food, which hit the shelves in Canada this week.
When I saw the name, I thought there must be all sorts of crazy stuff and “out there” ingredients in the burger but on closer inspection, I realized that all the ingredients were very normal, run of the mill types of things you’d probably have on hand in your fridge or pantry most of the time.
Basically it’s a beef burger with some lettuce tossed in a ketchup/ mayonnaise/ hot sauce mixture, some red onions tossed with a little white wine vinegar and some thinly sliced pickles. Ok so that part sounds like burger fixings… But there’s a curious thing about the burger patties themselves – they are, well, just meat. Really? No onion, egg, breadcrumbs, herbs, spices – or even salt and pepper? So where does the flavour come from?
Well it’s all in the technique. Once you’ve formed the meat patties you start cooking them and when you flip them over you baste them with mustard and hot sauce. Then you flip over and do the same to the other side, adding some cheese to the top of the patty. Then (this is genius!) you add some water to the frying pan and cover the pan with a lid for a minute or so and voilà, the cheese is melted! Meanwhile you’re frying up some crispy bacon and then toasting the buns in the bacon fat (you should have seen the boys’ eyes when we were doing that!).
Then you build the burger. I made each boy do this individually – I try to teach a few plating skills here and there – and was impressed with the care (and thought!) that went into what went on each burger. I am happy to report that every boy tried everything (even if it was just a tiny piece of the onion or ½ a pickle slice).
In a rare move, I even let the boys eat their burgers right at the end of the club (we had time to spare!) and I have honestly never seen them so quiet. Comfort Food indeed! Someone might wonder why I taught the boys how to make burgers (after all, some burgers are not, shall we say, so good for you) – well here’s the thing – there’s nothing wrong with a burger every now and then. Especially one made fresh like this. Right? I am all about showing the boys how to make the food they love to eat (mostly) from scratch and helping them see how much better home-cooked really does taste (also, how easy it is!).
Get the recipe for Jamie Oliver’s Insanity Burgers here.
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