Hubert Keller's Budweiser Backyard Burger
A Tangy, Zesty Burger
Looking for the perfect burger to the fourth? Look no farther.
For the shallot jam:
In a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and heat until hot. Add the shallots, stir, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are light gold and have thoroughly melted. Deglaze with the beer and add the thyme. Stir often towards the end of cooking to make sure the shallots do not stick and all the beer is reduced to almost dry. Set aside.
While the shallots are cooking, in a small saucepan, melt the sugar with about 1 tablespoon water over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Cook at a boil, uncovered and without stirring, until the sugar caramelizes to a medium amber color, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vinegar. The mixture will foam and spit, so stand back to avoid being spattered. Return the pan to low heat, and stir until the caramel has melted.
Scrape the shallots into the caramel and stir well. Remove to a bowl, cover, and set aside to cool. Taste for seasoning, and adjust with salt and pepper.
Refrigerate the jam in a covered container for several days or longer. It may also be frozen. Bring to room temperature before using.
For the burger:
For the burgers, shape the meat into 4 evenly-sized patties about 1 inch thick. Handle lightly to keep the texture light and juicy. The burgers can be shaped and refrigerated, covered, for several hours.
When ready to cook, heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat until very hot or build a medium-hot fire in a barbecue. Generously season the meat on both sides with salt and pepper.
Cook the burgers in the skillet, turning once or twice, 7 to 10 minutes for medium-rare. Do not press down on the patties. With a large spoon, baste the burgers several times with the fat in the pan. (You can also preheat the oven to 450° F and cook the burgers on top of the stove until they are brown on both sides, and then finish them in the oven.) To grill the burgers, oil the grate, arrange the patties on it, and cover. Cook as above.
While the burgers are searing, heat up one tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over high heat, and cook the spinach stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the leaves are wilted but bright green about 3 minutes. Keep warm.
Toast the buns in a toaster oven or on the outer perimeter of the grill rack until golden brown
For the last minute of cooking, display the blue cheese over each burger to melt lightly. Then top the cheese with the warmed up shallot jam. Top the shallots with the spinach. Then remove to a warm platter, keep warm, and let rest several minutes before serving
To assemble the burgers, divide the butter lettuce leaves between the buns and top with the tomatoes. Add the burgers and the bacon on top of each. Cover with the bun tops. Serve immediately with remaining shallot jam.
As a personal preference, serve the burgers with sweet potato fries!
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