A Burger Recipe
The Burger becomes a Masterpiece
Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook
click for book review
click for the history of the hamburger
You've Come a Long Way, Burger
The earliest burger may have originated with the tatars of Mongolia. Step one of their burger recipe was to put patties of meat (probably lamb 'burgers') under their saddles as they traversed the steppes in search of conquest. The weight of their bodies jouncing and bouncing acted to tenderize the about-to-be burger. Tenderizing may have been a necessary step in the recipe, but the first caveat for making a great burger is to handle it as little as possible. We wonder if the Mongols had burgers or some early form of jerky.
The burger traveled the world, first to Russia, then on to Hamburg, Germany where it became a more formal delight called the hamburger. Though we use the word hamburger, this recipe is such a part of the family that we more commonly call it a burger.
We don't know what kind of burger may have rendered by bouncing, but today the burger is integral to our diets, so beloved that no respectable chef will ignore the opportunity to create a burger recipe of his or her own. At the South Beach Food and Wine Festival (familiarly called SoBe), the burger is so important that the festival has developed what they call the "burger bash."
Lee Brian Schrager, originator of SoBe, says it best: "Burgers may be casual in real life, but here at the Burger Bash, they're serious business. The chefs who are invited to cook go all out. The burgers served at SoBe have some of the finest pedigrees around. Even the simplest burger gets the royal treatment at SoBe. And when it comes to thinking outside the bun, our chefs shine there too."
We love all the burger recipes in the Food Network's South Beach Wine and Food Festival Cookbook. It's hard to pick one, but we decided that if we want to take burgers and call them American, not Mongolian, what burger recipe could be more quintessentially American than one incorporating cheddar cheese in an innovative way, here in the form of a cheddar cheese biscuit recipe. And what better way to get a cheeseburger than to bring that cheddar taste into the recipe while allowing room for a great chutney recipe. Let's let Art Smith, creator of this burger recipe, speak for himself:
"I served this beauty at the Burger Bash in 2008. My secret weapon is the biscuits, which are always homemade just minutes before being eaten. (My motto: Have biscuits, will travel!) The tangy, spicy, sweet tomato chutney is like gourmet ketchup for grown-ups: use it to liven up burgers, chicken, pork chops, or even grilled swordfish. Enjoy the burger recipe, but don’t forget—the biscuits should be warm, delicious, and homemade!"
Herewith - a great burger recipe from Chef Art Smith, a humanitarian (see below), as well as a chef to heads of state, celebrities, and food lovers of every stripe.
click for printable recipe
Cheddar Cheese Biscuit Burger with Tomato Ginger Chutney
- 1 pound prime ground beef (the best you can find)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 5 Cheddar Cheese Biscuits (recipe follows)
- Tomato-Ginger Chutney (recipe follows)
Heat a grill to medium-high.
In a large bowl, combine the beef, garlic, salt, and pepper. Form into 5 small patties. Cook to desired doneness, 3 minutes per side for medium-rare.
Remove the patties from the grill and place one on the bottom half of each biscuit. Top with some chutney and the top half of a biscuit.
Cheddar Cheese Biscuits
Makes 12 biscuits
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1 cup buttermilk, plus 1 tablespoon if needed
Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven and heat the oven to 425°F.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Cut in 4 tablespoons of the butter and ¼ cup of the cheese. Make a well in the middle of the ingredients and pour in the 1 cup buttermilk. Stir until moistened, adding an additional tablespoon of buttermilk if needed.
Remove the hot skillet from the oven and add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to it.
When the butter has melted, drop ¼-cup portions of the dough into the skillet, using a cookie scoop. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the melted butter. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until browned on the top and bottom.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup cheese. Enjoy warm!
Makes 3 ½ cups
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 cups cored, peeled, seeded, and chopped ripe tomatoes
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
- ½ teaspoon chipotle powder or chili powder
- ¼ cup golden raisins
- ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
In a large nonreactive saucepan, bring the sugar, vinegar, and salt to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until reduced by half.
Stir in the tomatoes, onion, garlic, ginger, and chipotle powder. Simmer, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes or until thickened.
Stir in the raisins and almonds. Remove from the heat. Cool, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
About Art Smith: Smith founded the non-profit charity Common Threads, which focuses on teaching children about different cultures through food and art. Common Threads has served over 750 children and served 2,000 healthy meals to children in 2006. He serves on the board of directors of “Kids Café”, a nutrition program, for children in Minneapolis. Smith owns and runs a highly successful restaurant in Chicago called TABLE fifty-two as well as Art and Soul in Washington, D.C. In 2009, Smith raised $10,000 for Common Threads as a participant on Top Chef Masters.
Among his awards, Smith counts this as the most important: "2007 JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION SPECIAL HONOREE AWARDS: LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT, HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR, COOKBOOK HALL OF FAME, WHO'S WHO AND AMERICA'S CLASSICS ANNOUNCED"