Wednesday, August 19, 2009

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

BIG Burger for Hamburger Hunger

Hungry for a hamburger?

Hamburgers are one of the nation's most popular dishes, with Americans eating about 13 billion a year, according to the Eric Schlosser book "Fast Food Nation."

With this standard dish, consisting of patty, buns and topping, it's easy to create something delicious if you if you go by the book. But Michael Chiarello, head chef and owner of Bottega restaurant, never does anything by the book.

So, when Chiarello, one of three finalists left on "Top Chef Masters" on Bravo, was asked to create a signature burger for the show's three judges, he didn't rely on the classics. Chiarello came up with a "Hamburgese Enorme," a triple burger made as one large creation.

Why one enormous burger?

Chiarello says if you make a big patty and cut it up among three smaller buns or create the same large patty and serve it one big bun, it's really a family-style burger. Cutting it up means there's less dry edge on the side of the patty, and everyone served gets a nice cut of the big juicy center. And with the manchego and white truffle chips -- unusual but delicious -- this menu, he says, is a can't-miss for any table.

The concept of a huge burger isn't totally new -- the biggest burger ever served weighed 8,266 pounds. It was cooked at the 2001 Burger Fest in Seymour Wisconsin. Another large burger, served in Rutland, North Dakota, was 3,591 pounds and was consumed by about 8,000 hungry people. But this is a large burger you can have right on your own dinner or lunch table:

"Hamburgese Enorme"
Total Time: Under 1 Hour
Skill Level: Moderate

3 pounds ground chuck
1 round Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam cheese (if you cannot find, try a store bought brie)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 Sourdough round rolls (OR 1 large bread loaf such as a round sourdough or ciabatta)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Divide meat in half. Place half the meat on Glad Wrap piece and top with another. Press to 1/2 inch thickness. Do the same with the other half of the meat. On one patty top with cheese and season both patties with salt/pepper. Top the cheese side with the other half of the meat. Top with Glad Wrap and press into perfect patty. Season the outsides of the burger with salt/pepper.

Heat a cast iron pan hot, drizzle olive oil in the pan and add patty. Cook over high heat to desire temperature.

While meat is cooking toast your buns and spread the roasted garlic mustard on all cut sides of bun. Arrange the buns buttoms in a square on a platter of bottom of another cast iron pan. Top with cooked meat, divide onions on top burger and top with 4 top buns.