After a long hiatus, Our Family Food Fight is back!
The theme: Surprise (stuffed) Burgers.
The challenge: present a burger with a surprise stuffing. And, of course, it had to be thematically correct, appropriately dressed and accompanied.
The Contestants: The usual suspects (Jim, Cassie, me) plus our newest family member, Julie (Jim’s wife). We’ll have to update that photo in the sidebar one of these days.
I debated between calling mine “The Sunday Sauce Burger” or “The Italian Stallion”. It has all the components and flavors of an Italian Sunday Sauce dinner but, as I developed the idea and went with the ‘one-burger-for-all’ instead of sliders, it began to take on the personality of an ‘Italian Stallion’. Besides, I liked the rhyming.
ground lean beef (about 3/4 lb.)
prepared as meatball with egg, parmesan, parsley, garlic and s+p (I did not add breadcrumbs to keep the texture more like a burger)
shredded pork (about 3 ozs.) braised in pasta sauce till it shreds
1 large hot sausage link baked and ground before assembly
Halve ground beef mixture, shape and salt again. Layer sausage meat and braised pork, add top half of burger and mold together. Add another dusting of salt, brush pasta sauce and sprinkle fresh grated parmesan cheese. Note: The stuffing meat was pre-cooked so that the beef wouldn’t have to be grilled-to-death to be sure the stuffing was cooked.
As you can see, I used a large circular plastic container top as the mold. Here it is halved, filled with stuffing and ready for top half half to be up-ended.
Brushed with pasta sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan, it is ready for the grill.
Here I made a mistake…or so I’ve been told. In a futile effort to add a health(ier) element to the dish I chose a thin crust whole wheat pizza round (store bought + cut to size). Admittedly, it was too thin for such a massive amount of meat, but I’m also told it was too healthy tasting. Suffice it to say, it was generally unappreciated by all, including me. However, I did brush it with olive oil and a sprinkle of rosemary, s+p.
Fried Spaghetti + Parmesan Crisp Garnishes
I baked, not fried, a handful of whole wheat thin spaghetti that had been brushed with a little oil and a sprinkling of salt. 375 degrees for just a few minutes. Here, too, because I chose whole wheat spaghetti it was under-appreciated. But they’re wrong. Just wrong. That tasted good! The grated parmesan was baked on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper until brown.
Boil white or cider vinegar with garlic clove, juniper berries, black peppercorns, star anise, fennel seed. Remove from heat and add finely chopped cauliflower, carrots, celery, fennel, zucchini, cured black olives, oregano, salt + pepper. Drizzle of EVOO. Tip: Good idea to remove peppercorns, juniper berries and garlic before adding vegetables. I learned the hard way. Also, I ended up mincing the mixture to a smaller, more relish-like size, before layering on to the burger. I thought the giardiniera was the perfect complement to the heavy burger; others thought it too vinegary.
The Assembly. Grilled pizza round, brushing of pasta sauce, the burger, parmesan crisp, giardiniera relish.
So what did the other contestants present? You’ll definitely want to go to Jim’s site for real food porn photos (he took the 2 of my Italian Stallion burger above). You’ll see a Burger King Crab (my favorite entry), a Lebanese Vegetarian and a Christmas/Thanksgiving Burger.
Next Family Food Fight Challenge: It’ll be sweet. It’ll be just desserts. It’ll be a damn challenge for FOODalogue!