Ask South Africans to name their favourite fast food and many will say it’s the hamburger! This is the same the world over where everyone loves the simplicity of a patty (be it beef, pork, chicken, lamb, vegetarian or vegan) between two buns, with their favourite fillings (lettuce, tomato, bacon, cheese, onions, beetroot, pickles etc) and sauces (BBQ, mayo, ketchup, mustard, chilli etc).
So it’s no wonder then that this dish should have its own day to celebrate – International Hamburger Day – which takes place on Thursday, May 28.
While there is much talk about the decline of burger restaurants and other fast food outlets as people become more health-conscious, burger joints remain the largest segment of the restaurant industry and in the US alone the burger market is worth more than $122 billion (R2,2 trillion!).
South Africans love their burgers, so to celebrate this auspicious food day here’s a mouth-wateringly good recipe from Chef Nadia Pillay, a lecturer at Capsicum Culinary Studio’s Port Elizabeth campus.
Says Pillay: “I have no name for this burger but I call it Since 2009, because that’s how long I’ve been using this recipe (which serves 4 people).”
Chef Nadia Pillay’s Since 2009 Burger
• 600g beef mince (150g per patty)
• 1 Onion finely chopped
• 20g fresh parsley finely chopped
• 60ml Worcestershire sauce
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 1 large egg
• Half a cup of Parmesan cheese (grated)
• Half a cup of dried breadcrumbs
• 2 tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar
• Salt and pepper
• 1 can of whole peel tomatoes roughly chopped
• 1 onion thinly sliced
• 1 teaspoon of fresh garlic
• 4 to 5 fresh basil leaves broken up
• 10ml of sugar
• Salt and pepper
• ½ teaspoon of vinegar
• 4 large burger buns
• Sliced dill cucumber
• Grated cheddar cheese
• Mustard mayo (5 tablespoons of mayonnaise to 2 tablespoons of wholegrain mustard)
Start by mixing all the ingredients together for the beef patty. Make sure to combine everything really well so that all the ingredients are evenly mixed.
Once mixed, shape patties into 150g balls and set aside to rest in the refrigerator.
While the patties are resting, make the tomato relish by heating up 2 tablespoons of oil on medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until onions are clear and glossy. (Be careful not to burn the garlic).
Add the sugar by sprinkling it evenly over onions but do not stir – rather let the sugar melt (about 30 seconds).
Add chopped tomatoes and seasoning and stir for about 5 minutes. Turn down the heat and let the mixture cook on a gentle heat for about 15 minutes making sure it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Once cooked through add the basil and then turn off the heat and let the relish develop its flavours.
By now the burger patties should be firm. Shape them into patties, brush with oil and cook to preference in a griddle pan or on the braai. (Brushing the patty with oil rather than putting the oil into the pan will avoid create splatter.)
Make sure cooking temperature is high to get a nice smoky flavour.
Once cooked to preference, top your patties with the grated cheese and melt in the oven or cover the pan with a lid for a few minutes
Once burgers are cooked let them rest for about 2 to 3 minutes before building your burger
Toast burger buns until golden to prevent the bun from becoming soggy
Spread the buns with the mustard mayo instead of butter, add lettuce leaf or two and then place cooked patty and top with sliced dill cucumbers and tomato relish. Serve with fries. Enjoy!