I am all about pairing fabulous wine with classic, comfort food meals. In this case, a grass-fed organic burger with French red wine. Perfect for the weekly meal when you have no energy to cook dinner, yet you want to treat yourself. (I’ve been known to have this with my significant other on Valentine’s Day, shhh . . . .)
Chef Gabrielle Hamilton shared this recipe for a cheeseburger last year in House Beautiful that far surpassed my expectations. The secret . . . the parsley-shallot butter. Forget the ketchup, Dijon or any other sauce you usually use. This recipe will serve as a reminder that top notch flavor (yes, yet another reminder that butter does make seemingly everything better) eliminates the need for excess ingredients. Have a look at my version below from beginning to end (which includes a delicious glass of Bandol, France, red wine.)
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¾ cups peeled and roughly chopped shallots
- 2 cups picked, clean parsley leaves
- 3½ teaspoons coarse kosher salt (do not use fine iodized salt)
- 1 pound unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, at room temperature
- 1 pound excellent-quality ground chuck
- ½ pound excellent-quality ground lamb (if you don’t have access to lamb, just use beef)
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 ounces sharp white cheddar (sliced into 4 slices)
- English muffins (preferably those made fresh at your local bakery, but Thomas’ are good too) OR buttery brioche buns picked up at your local bakery (see image above)
1. In a food processor, chop the garlic and shallots finely. Add parsley leaves and 1½ teaspoons salt, and also process to fine. Add butter and process to smooth and emerald-green.
2. Run your hands under very cold water for a minute — this will keep the meat from getting gummy — then gently combine the two meats. Divide the meat into four equal portions (six ounces each), then gently form into patties that are 1¼ inches thick and three inches in diameter. Season each patty all over — top, bottom, and the circumference — with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Touch the patties as tenderly and as little as possible — the more you manhandle and compact the meat, the tougher it becomes.
3. Heat a cast-iron skillet on low heat for two minutes, then increase the heat to medium-high, add 1 tablespoon oil, and place patties in pan. Cover with a splatter screen, if you own one, to minimize the mess on your stove top. Cook for seven minutes on one side, flip, and cook for five more minutes. Do not turn, touch, press down on, or otherwise molest the burgers while they are cooking. Place cheese on top and either place in a hot oven or under the broiler until the cheese is just melted but not liquefied.
4. Split four of the English muffins by deeply pricking them along the horizontal seam with the tines of a dinner fork. Toast well and generously smear both the tops and the bottoms with the room-temperature parsley-shallot butter, “wall to wall” as we say at Prune, so that every bite will be seasoned and not just the center ones. (The remaining butter can be refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for up to six weeks — it is delicious on everything from toast to steak.) Place the burgers on the bottoms and close with the buttered English muffin lids.