Monday, August 1, 2011

A French Evening

Dearest Jess,

Things have been busy. But things have been so good. We were able to relax at the cottage this passed weekend. Lots of swimming, canoeing, wake-skating, sunbathing, and eating happened.

I know I have been doing lots of burgers this summer (summer burgers, and spanish burgers), but I have another one for you. I love burgers in the summer. And really, with the heat we've been getting I much prefer a BBQ meal to something that involves firing up the oven and/or stove. Even the microwave seems a bit much.

This burger is very light and very delicious. The Mushrooms give off such an amazing aroma, and the onions add a strong flavour with some amazing colour. The Brie is a nice creamy touch, but this would also be incredible with Goat Cheese!

The Ooh-la-la Burger
Red Wine Caramelized Onions
1 tbsp olive oil
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp each kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup red wine
1 tbsp packed brown sugar

Sauteed Mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil
8oz button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp each kosher salt and black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme

1 1/2 lbs medium ground beef
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp each kosher salt and black pepper
4oz brie cheese, thinly sliced
8 slices French bread (not baguette) (we used stone mill bread)
Grainy Dijon mustard to taste
2 cups lightly packed washed and dried mache (lamb's lettuce) (we used spinach)

1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally for 5-7 minutes or until onion starts to soften. Add red wine and sugar. Bring to a boil, then bubble, stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes or until wine has almost completely evaporated.
2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally for about 40 minutes or until onion is very soft and slightly sticky, reducing heat if onion starts to stick to saucepan. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
3. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 8-10 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and golden grown. Stir in garlic and thyme. Cook, stirring for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
4. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, shallot, tarragon, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper, mixing gently but thoroughly. Form beef mixture into 4 even-sized patties about 3/4 inch thick. With the heel of your hand, make an indentation in centre of each patty (this helps burgers cook more evenly).
5. Cook patties on well-oiled Medium heat BBQ grill for 8-10 minutes, turning once.  Just before burgers are ready, top each burger with one-quarter of the brie cheese. Add bread slices to grill and toast on 1 side until golden.
6. Arrange 4 slices bread toasted-side down and spread with Dijon mustard. Top with mache (spinach), dividing evenly. Add a burger to each slice, along with caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms. Top with remaining bread slices.

We paired these burgers with a Cabernet Sauvignon. I really liked the concept of using a strong, grainy bread instead of a bun. It really added to the flavour and brought something new to the burger concept. 

I hope everything is going well! I'm excited for this weekend! It was awesome to see you on Friday and Saturday. I miss you like crazy.


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