The International Grocery, a store in the next town past the closest, carries a good selection of Lebanese style pitas, delivered from an upstate bakery. This is a loaf of tannour bread. It’s thin and about 14″-16″ across. When I saw it I thought “instant pizza!”.The sauce is a whole grain mustard cut with plain yellow mustard with a ton of minced garlic. There are provolone and Swiss cheese slices atop the mustard and then a layer of pastrami broken into rough pieces, a little more shredded cheese, and then some of my refrigerator dills.We give this two thumbs up – especially given how quickly it comes together using that pre-baked crust. I did take it out of the oven a little sooner than I would have liked but I feared the crust would turn brittle. The edge crust – we call that part the “pizza bones” – did get hard but the mustard and cheeses kept the rest pliable.
This is another of our favorites, I know I’ve done this here before but that’s never stopped me. This one is made with Swiss cheese and Parmesan. I lightly steamed the broccoli and the shrimp and layered them in a casserole with the cheese sauce poured on and a mixture of Parmesan, olive oil, chopped parsley, and bread crumbs spread on top of it all. If you combine everything while it’s still hot you can finish it under a broiler but you can make it ahead of time and then reheat in a 375 oven until the bread crumbs are toasted. Today we went with fettuccine in garlic butter but rice or mashed potatoes would work well.
Mmm… shred some potatoes and cook them down in chicken stock for the base soup – then start with those little flourishes that make cooking fun. This one has onions, celery, and carrots along with the potatoes. Let them cook down a while then hit it with an immersion blender. I used some Swiss that I’ve had in the fridge for too long for the cheese component, then stirred in some heavy cream at the end. Bacon or ham works well in this sort of thing. Shave some Parmesan on top for a garnish.
Stuffed burgers, yum. It’s grilling season. And as much as I love a good grilled burger, I’m always looking for a way to elevate them to something beyond ordinary. I’ll probably have several posts over the summer with different ways to dress up ordinary ground beef for the grill. Today though, I’m going to start with my new favorite, stuffed burgers with sharp cheddar and jalapenos.
Before I get to that, let’s start with my basic burger recipe, one I’ve been making since I was a kid, that makes sure even the leanest ground beef comes out moist and flavorful. That recipe is here.
Your turn. What’s your favorite way to prepare your burgers? Are you a turkey or veggie burger person? If so, what’s your favorite way to fix them? What is your “must have” on a burger? Ketchup? Mustard? A thick tomato slice? My must have is ketchup. Lots of it.
For tonight’s feature recipe, I’m going to take you step by step through a single burger prep. It should be easy to multiply the ingredients for as many as you’ll want to make. I’m using sharp cheddar and pickled jalapenos, but you can use blue cheese, mild cheddar, jack, swiss, or any favorite cheese. An ounce of cheese per quarter pound of ground beef is about the right ratio to keep everything from falling apart and still have a nice melted center. Add grilled onions, mushrooms or peppers to change things up. The ideas are endless.
Jalapeno-Cheddar Stuffed Hamburgers:
Ingredients for each burger:
- 4 oz ground beef
- salt, pepper
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed garlic (opt)
- 1 oz sharp cheddar, sliced thin
- 2 or more slices of pickled jalapenos
Mix salt, pepper and garlic into the ground beef. Form two, 2-oz patties. Place jalapenos on one burger, cheese on the other.
Place the two sides together and seal the edges completely. Gently flatten the burger, but be careful because you don’t want the cheese busting out of the center.
The key to grilling or frying these is low and slow. Medium heat seals them and allows the cheese to melt without drying the burger out. I flipped at the 5 minute mark, but depending on the heat, 3-4 minutes may be enough to flip. They’re thin, so the beef cooks quickly, but you want to make sure the cheese melts. I would say minimum 4 minutes per side.
If cheese starts to leak out, flip and flip again as needed. DON’T press down on these burgers while you grill, you’ll have a cheesy mess.
Now the warning. Did I say WARNING? Yes I did. You’ll need to rest these burgers to let the cheese cool a bit. Otherwise you could be biting into a scalding cheese center. You’ve been WARNED.
That’s the basics, now let your imagination run wild. Maybe I should have titled this, How To Stuff A Wild Burger.
Until next week…..
Hot ham and Swiss with giardiniera on a sub roll. The best way to prepare a sammich of this sort is to lay the meat in a non stick skillet and cover it with the cheese, and then heat it slowly with a lid on. When the cheese is ready use a spatula to transfer it all to your bun. I spread butter on this roll and toasted it while the cheese was melting. Mustard and pickles are the classic garnishes for these but I really like the hot giardiniera – and I have a huge jar of it to get through!
The classic lunch menu. Grilled cheese is pretty easy to get wrong, the cheese needs to be hot enough to ooze and that takes enough time that it’s easy to burn the bread. There are a few ways around this – low and slow in a covered skillet or you can use a the shortcut a microwave offers. A minute or two total in short sessions will preheat the cheese enough to let you use a bit higher flame in the skillet for a faster browning. I used both methods today for this sandwich because the bread started frozen and the slice of ham introduced another delay. Olive oil was the lube of choice today, a mix of olive oil and butter works great. Nothing wrong with using straight butter.
“Nothing says loving like something from the…” Wait! Wrong jingle!
Oh well, nothing says lunch like soup ‘n sandwich. I fixed this plate for Mrs J, she hasn’t had one of the new! so cool! tasty! inside out grilled cheese sammiches yet.
The soup is nothing special, a chicken noodle made with wide noodles, snow pea pods, shredded cabbage, grated carrots, sliced celery and some green onions. It was OK, but the star here was the grilled cheese.