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6 Jacob's crackers , or 4 slices of bread, crusts removed
500 g quality lean minced beef
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 heaped teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large free-range egg
1 handful Parmesan cheese , freshly grated
For the spicy mayo
2 teaspoons low-fat mayonnaise , made with free-range eggs
2 teaspoons fat-free natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon tomato ketchup
1 good pinch smoked paprika or cayenne pepper
½ lemon , juice of
6 rashers higher-welfare smoked streaky bacon
6 large burger buns , or 18 small burger buns
1 soft round lettuce , leaves washed and spun dry
4 tomatoes , sliced
6 gherkins , sliced
a few pickled chillies
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I couldn’t possibly leave the great American burger out of this book. Sadly, the classic burger has gone from humble beginnings (as something brought over by German immigrants) to become a symbol of fast food and junk. But when made at home with quality ingredients, it’s an absolute joy. So, introducing my great American burger, and its little cousin, the ‘slider’, or mini burger . . . Have fun with your toppings and flavour combos and enjoy.
You can make these burgers or sliders in an oven at full whack, on the barbecue or in a hot pan. If you’re using the oven or barbecue, preheat it now.
Put a splash of olive oil into a large frying pan on a low heat and add your chopped onions. Fry for 10 minutes or until the onions have softened, then put to one side to cool completely. Blitz your crackers or bread in a food processor until you get a fine consistency. Oil a clean baking tray and put aside. Put the cooled onions into a large bowl with the rest of the burger ingredients. Use clean hands to scrunch the mixture together really well, then divide into 6 equal balls for burgers and 18 equal balls for sliders.
Wet your hands and roll the balls into burger-shaped patties about 2cm thick. Place your burgers or sliders on the oiled baking tray and pat with a little olive oil. Cover them with cling film and put the tray into the fridge for at least an hour, or until the patties firm up. This is a good time to make your spicy mayo, so put all the ingredients into a bowl, mix well and put to one side.
If using a frying pan or griddle pan, put it on a high heat now and let it get really hot. However you decide to cook your burgers, they’ll want around 3 or 4 minutes per side – you may have to cook them in batches if your pan isn’t big enough. When your burgers or sliders are nearly cooked on one side, add the rashers of bacon – whichever way you’re cooking them – then flip the burgers and cook the bacon until golden and crisp. When the burgers are cooked to your liking and it’s all looking really good, halve your burger buns and warm them through. Put the bacon on a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain.
When everything comes together pop your burgers or sliders on to their buns, add all your lovely toppings and your spicy mayo (you know how to put a burger together!), then tuck in with a lovely fresh salad, baked potato or potato wedges.