This burger thing isn't going away. Neither quietly fading into the background nor stepping aside for something shiny and new to take its place.
Instead, it's craning its neck, waving its hand around like the class know-it-all, and yelling, "Pick me! Me! I know the answer!"
Confession: I was that know-it-all. I also had thick plastic-rimmed glasses. I'm proud of none of these things.
I don't know what's come over my appetite with these burger cravings... in winter, no less. Is it some screwed up subconscious longing for the summer grilling season? I doubt it, though I suppose it's possible.
I'm not ready to come to grips with the fact that the days are getting longer and the snow is hanging around less and less. I just replenished my supply of hot cocoa mix, so Mother Nature better take a literal chill pill and cool its jets. According to my calendar, it's still comfort food season for another two months.
Burgers don't necessarily come to mind when I think of comfort food, but that's not to say they aren't comforting. Especially when all you want is a big, juicy burger. The definition of comfort food should be revised to "whatever food you want at that precise moment."
And, at a moment over the weekend, I wanted two things: shepherd's pie and, of course, burgers.
This winter, I've become addicted to the various shepherd's pies from one of my favorite restaurants in the city, Piper's Pub. Beef, chicken, lamb, even venison and elk, are simmered with vegetables in a rich broth and topped with broiled red-skin mashed potatoes. It takes less than 10 minutes to get there, and I can almost always be swayed to scrap dinner plans in favor of dining there.
Instead, I went to the grocery store (hungry, obviously) and impulsively bought the ingredients to create a dish that would satisfy both cravings and entertain one off-the-wall idea: shepherd's pie burgers for the win!
Juicy ground beef patties are studded with not-so-standard burger makings (but very traditional shepherd's pie items) like peas and carrots, then topped with a scoop of buttery mashed potatoes for a burger experience unlike any other. So unique and a little crazy, but it totally worked.
These shepherd's pie burgers should be the poster food for cold weather comfort!
A poster with an illuminated marquee and dancing spotlights and loud music and a red carpet. Because these burgers demand attention, gosh darn it, and rightfully so.
One year ago: Slow cooker lasagna
Two years ago: Philly cheesesteak sloppy Joes
Three years ago: Broccoli potato cheddar soup
Four years ago: Portobello mushroom lasagna
Shepherd's Pie Burgers
1 large baking potato, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
3-4 Tablespoons milk
1 Tablespoon butter
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons panko
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed
4 burger buns
In a small saucepan filled halfway with water, add potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until potato is fork tender. Drain and return potatoes to empty saucepan. Add milk and continue to mash and stir potatoes until smooth. (More milk may be necessary depending on how creamy you like mashed potatoes.) Add butter, stirring to combine and until butter is melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper; cover saucepan with foil and set aside.
Preheat grill pan, Griddler, or nonstick skillet over medium high heat. In large bowl, combine ground beef, peas & carrots, spices, panko, egg white, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper until evenly mixed. Shape into 4 equal patties. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side or to desired doneness. When finished cooking, remove burgers to plate to rest for a few minutes.
Place one burger in each bun, top with 1/4 of the mashed potatoes and remaining half of bun. Serve and enjoy immediately.