As you may have noticed, I am not a HUGE red meat-eater. I’m actually not a huge meat-eater in general – but red meat tastes particularly… meaty, to me, so I don’t use it terribly often (much to Crist’s dismay. She believes I am starving my husband, one meatless meal at a time. He would beg to differ). Ever since I was little, the flavor of meat itself just doesn’t appeal to me; because of this, I prefer my meat to be just a component of a dish, as opposed to the star. The burger I am about to show you is sort of perfect for everyone – for those of you who are hardcore carnivores, there is plenty of hearty beef flavor, and for those of us who prefer to surround our meat with other flavors, it fits that bill as well.
This burger has been a huge hit with everyone who has ever tried it. It has a great balance of sweetness (from the fig jam, and the sweet onions), and sharp acidity (from the vinegar in the jam), and a generous helping of gooey, melted cheese. I would like another one of these burgers right now, as a matter of fact.
I know that everyone has their preferred way to make burgers – some people think a 1/4lb burger is GIGANTIC, and others think that unless it’s 1/2lb or more, it’s merely an appetizer. This recipe will make one pound of meat (which, for me, makes three burgers – one that is about 1/4lb, for myself, and two that are a bit more than 1/3lb each, for my husband… one for dinner, one for lunch the next day). Feel free to make however many burgers you feel is appropriate out of one pound of meat.
Fig-Glazed Burgers with Red Onion Jam
(this recipe is heavily modified from one I found online a few years ago – but I was not smart enough to save the source. If you have any idea, let me know!)
Makes 2-4 burgers, depending on size
1 pound ground sirloin
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 small shallot, minced
2 tsp worcestershire
1 T dijon mustard
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t black pepper
1 T fig jam per burger
1 oz monterey jack cheese per burger*
Red onion jam (see below)
Hamburger buns of choice
*I would suggest buying a block of monterey jack cheese, and cutting it into slices yourself (rather than buying shredded cheese, or something similar)
For the jam:
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 T olive oil
3 T brown sugar
1/4 c red wine vinegar
large pinch of kosher salt
1.) Take your ground beef out of the fridge; letting it sit for a bit at room temperature will take the chill off, and result in a more tender burger. Start making your jam. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and add your olive oil to it. When the pan and oil are heated up, add the onions, and toss them until they’re all coated in the oil. Add the pinch of salt, and mix it in.
2.) Let the onions cook for about 5 minutes, until they are translucent (you don’t really want them to brown, so if they are browning too much at the edges, lower the heat on your pan). Add the brown sugar and vinegar, and stir to combine everything. Let the mixture continue to cook, stirring frequently, until it is no longer watery, and has cooked down to a thick, jam-like consistency (this should only take 5-10 minutes). Set the jam aside.
3.) Place your ground beef into a large mixing bowl. Add your garlic, shallot, worcestershire, dijon, salt, and pepper, and gently combine all the ingredients with the beef with your hands. When you are working with something like ground beef, be sure to work quickly and gently – you don’t want to SQUEEZE the meat, or beat the crap out of it. You just want to make sure that all the other ingredients are well-distributed, without overworking the meat and making it tough.
4.) Once the burger mixture is ready, separate it into as many burgers as you’d like, and form round patties about 1/2″ thick. Place them on a plate, to the side.
5.) Heat a grill pan (or your grill) over medium heat. Brush the pan (or grill) with a bit of olive oil, to keep the burgers from sticking. Once the pan is good and hot, place your burgers into it.
6.) If you like your burgers medium, cook them for about 3 minutes on the first side (4 minutes for medium well, 5 minutes for well-done). When you are ready to flip them, they should release from the pan pretty easily – if they are sticking a bit, let them sit a few more seconds before trying to flip again.
7.) Once you’ve flipped your burgers, spread 1 T of fig jam on top of each burger. Place your sliced cheese on top of the burgers, and loosely tent a piece of foil (shiny side down) over your pan. If you are unfamiliar with the foil tent method, it’s pretty simple – when you are cooking in an open pan, you’re losing a lot of heat off the surface of the pan/food. By loosely covering the pan with a piece of foil, the heat is deflected back down onto the food – which is mighty handy when you’re trying to do something like melt cheese on top of a burger (which will take 10 times longer without the foil tent – thereby ensuring that your burgers are overcooked to death).
8.) Continue cooking your burgers under the foil tent until they’re done to your liking (about 3-4 minutes more for medium). Remove them to a plate, place your foil tent loosely over them, and let them rest for a few minutes while you prep your buns.
9.) Lightly butter (or mist with olive oil) the insides of your buns, and put them cut side down into your grill pan for a minute – just until they toast up nicely.
10.) Time to build your burgers! Lay the bottom halves of your buns out, top them with burgers, top the burgers with a generous helping of your red onion jam, and top the jam with your top buns. Dig in!
I like to serve these burgers with some spicy sweet potato fries (I was going to also make a side salad the last time I made these, but… I got lazy, okay??) – the spice plays off the sweetness of the fig jam and onion jam really well. I honestly could eat these burgers 3 days a week – and as someone who is not much of a red meat eater, that is saying a lot. These would be fantastic as sliders, for a party – or made into fig-glazed meatballs, topped with some melted cheese and red onion jam, on a toothpick!
People are going to ask for this recipe once they’ve tried it, so maybe print some copies off in advance,