Monday, April 16, 2012

Portobello & Swiss cheese burgers

Because it's spring.  Because the snowflakes Pittsburgh got last week didn't last.  Because it's almost officially grilling season.  And because it's always Griddling season :)

Enough stalling.  I'd like to formally introduce you to my new favorite burger: the portobello and Swiss beef burger, au naturale

Now, before the self-proclaimed burger purists of the world form an uprising because there is no bun in the above picture, kindly permit some time to do some 'splainin'.  Hey, even Lucy was always given an opportunity.

I love burgers of all shapes and animal origins.  I, too, love bread, but I always feel like the bread to filling ratio is totally unbalanced.  If I wanted bread with my filling, I'll make a sandwich.  But, when I want a burger, it's the meaty patty that I'm craving.  Fresh and juicy, packed with flavor, and personalized to my exact specifications.

Exact specifications meaning cheese.  Always cheese.  Really, there is no such thing as a hamburger in my world.  Only naked and incomplete cheeseburgers.

Burgers are one of my favorite meals to order out because it seems like every restaurant and its chef come up with the most mind-boggling and unique combinations.  Like pizza, it's a blank canvas.  With burgers topped with items like guacamole, sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, fried eggs, banana ketchup (?!), and cashews, just to name a few, I've gotta have the whole stack -- no leftovers.

However, often said stack stands at 6 inches or more.  That is one heaping burger, friends.  Inevitably, I'll take my first bite from the entire creation and, about halfway through, abandon the buns and take a fork and knife to the remaining burger.  For one, I'll most likely not be able to finish the bun and burger, and leftover burgers are kinda, well, meh.  No one likes soggy buns.  Plus, I figure I can get buns anywhere, but the burger isn't usually something I'll be making at home anytime soon.

That's a lot of talk about buns for those of you keeping track.

Anyway, buns be gone for this burger!  Here's what you need:

Sliced Swiss cheese, 1 pound ground beef, 3 large portobello mushroom caps (stems removed), an egg, minced garlic, and bread crumbs (not pictured).

Make up the patties and "fire up" those indoor grills!

Meanwhile, brush the mushroom caps with olive oil and throw them on with the burgers, too.  Pretty soon you'll have succulent juicy portobellos and burgers ready to build a better burger.  It's as easy as one, two three.

Ta-da!  Toss some hot out of the oven roasted sweet potato fries on the plate and you're in business.  

Would you look at that glorious burger surrounded by oven-baked sweet potato fries?  I've determined that this is my perfect post-run meal -- the burger is loaded with protein, the mushroom with protein and vitamins, while the sweet potato is great for restoring blood sugar naturally and has anti-inflammatory benefits.

That being said, I also think it would be a perfect napped on the couch all day Saturday and woke up just to make dinner meal.  To each her own, right?

There's just something about burgers that scream summer.  As in the season with no snow.  Yep.  Mark this day down on your calendars, friends.  I'm officially a cheerleader for warmer weather.  And portobello swiss burgers.  Buns be gone!

One year ago: Cornbread and beef skillet pie; White bean dip
Two years ago: From scratch box brownies; Almond-crusted tilapia

Portobello and Swiss Beef Burgers
-makes 3 burgers

A few notes: Whatever cooking medium you choose, be it a Griddler, grill pan, skillet, oven, or outdoor grill, these burgers will be delicious.  If you're looking to jazz them up even more, two ingredients came to mind after I made these that I've gotta try next time: bleu cheese and caramelized (or even crunch fried) onions.

1 pound ground lean ground beef
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons Italian bread crumbs
1 clove minced garlic
Ground black pepper
3 large portobello mushroom caps, cleaned, stems removed
3 slices Swiss cheese
Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat grill/grill pan/Griddler to high heat.  Mix beef, egg, bread crumbs, garlic, and salt and pepper in a bowl.  Divide burgers into three patties.  Add to grill.  Meanwhile, brush portobellos with olive oil and add to grill as well.  Cook both burgers and mushrooms about 6 to 8 minutes.  Flip, repeat on remaining side.  Plate mushrooms first, topping with beef patties, and finally cheese.  Serve with sweet potato fries and enjoy!

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