Burgers have a way of making me remember simpler times. You know, those times where there were no adulting, no worrying and no fuss. Apart from pizza nights (usually on Fridays) we often also had Burger days, where we would build our own burgers, slap on some mayo and dive into a homemade favourite without fuss. Burger days were also mostly spent with friends – those friends in front of whom you didn’t mind the messiness of burger eating.
Since International Burger Day is around the corner, I thought I’d give you two burger options to try out at home. Courtesy of the South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association, of course. I mean, what would a burger be without mushrooms, right? In fact, I often enjoy replacing the burger buns with large grilled mushrooms, which is the perfect gluten-free burger option.
Invite some friends over for a build-your-own-burger day on 28 May and indulge comfort that comes with the taste of a homemade burger and the company of good friends.
Lentil & Mushroom Burger with Mushroom Bun
400g white button mushrooms
2 x 400g tin brown lentils, rinsed and drained
½ red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
¼ cup flour
¼ cup breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 large ripe tomato, diced (or use a handful of colourful cherry tomatoes)
½ red onion, diced
2 small to medium-sized avocados
¼ cup fresh coriander leaves
Juice of ½ lemon
Freshly ground pink peppercorns, to taste
Salt, to taste
8 large portabello mushrooms
2 large carrots, peeled and then peeled further into ribbons
2 cups mixed lettuce
For the patty
Blitz mushrooms in a food processor until finely diced.
Add mushrooms to a hot pan with a drizzle of olive oil (we love Tokara’s olive oil)
Cook out all of their water. Work in batches if necessary to not overcrowd the pan.
Scrape mushrooms into a large bowl.
Add the lentils to the dry hot pan and toast them until dry.
Add to the bowl of cooked mushrooms.
In the same pan, add a fresh drizzle of olive oil and cook the onion until soft.
Add the garlic and paprika and cook for a minute until fragrant.
Add to the bowl of mushrooms and lentils.
Add the flour, breadcrumbs and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Mix everything together well. Mash some of the mixture against the side of the bowl. Keeping some of the lentils whole and some more mashed gives the patty great texture.
Divide the mixture into four. The patties will be around 180g each.
Fry patties in a little drizzle of olive oil until golden brown on both sides.
For the salsa
Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and lightly mash together.
To build the burger
Place the 8 portabellos on a wire rack on top of a baking tray.
Sprinkle with a little seasoning and roast for about 7 minutes at 200˚ C until tender.
Brush with a little BBQ sauce or any brown sauce to give them a glazed and shiny look.
Slice a little off 4 of the portobello ‘bottom buns’ so they sit flat.
Top with a generous pile of greens and carrot ribbons.
Place a lentil and mushroom patty on each one.
Top with a generous amount of the avocado salsa and finish with the top portobello bun.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds for a burger effect and serve alongside some crunchy sweet potato fries.
Venison Mushroom Blended Burger
Makes 4 burgers
For the burgers
400g Eland mince (80/20 fat ratio) or any preferred venison – even ostrich
400g mixed button and portabellini mushrooms, finely diced
60ml Mrs Balls Chutney
1 Tbsp mixed herbs (marjoram, rosemary & sage)
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp crushed black peppercorns
1 tsp salt
1 jumbo egg
4 Burger buns, toasted
Beer battered onion rings
Fig chutney or relish / preserve
For the Burger Patties
Combine all burger patty ingredients in a large bowl and mix, ensuring that the spices are well distributed
Form 4 burger patties and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes
Grill burger patties until caramelization
Build your Burger
Toast burger buns on the grill (bread side down)
Place butter lettuce onto your toasted burger bun base
Top with mushroom and eland blended burger patty and thin slices of Brie cheese
Drizzle with fig chutney
Top the burger bun with three crispy, golden beer battered onion rings (hold in place with a skewer)
Best served with steakhouse-style chips, tossed in rosemary salt
Eland is one of the largest and most sort after antelope for venison – it is a healthy and flavourful alternative to Beef with a similar texture so great for people trying venison for the first time.
The Brie Cheese must be thinly sliced and placed on the hot burger patty so that the cheese melts and oozes through each bite of the burger.
You can add a little red wine or balsamic vinegar to the fig chutney or some sweet pickle to the burger if you like a little tangy crispness (cuts through the richness of the brie and the sweetness of the fig).
Messy but delicious – best served with an ice-cold beer and lots of serviettes.
Happy International Burger Day!