Tuesday, November 9, 2010



Is a burger considered a burger if it doesn't have a bun?
Many would say no. Some might even dispute that a bunless burger is merely a jazzed up rissole. I say...yes!

I decided to take heed from Elaine Benes* who famously decided to shamelessly embrace the muffin top by doing without the muffin bottom; yes, I went straight to the goodness of a burger - what's in between the two carby buns.

Although I'm quite partial to a vegie burger, every now and then a woman needs her iron and what better way to enjoy it than by eating a lightly spiced beef pattie thats full of flavour and goodness with hidden chickpeas? And for me a burger is all about the condiments - tomato, bbq or HP sauce, mayo, mustard, pickle, avo, whatever you want to add it just has to be sloppy and tasty. So why not go crazy and make the condiments a main attraction?

And you can't go without the crispness of an iceberg lettuce leaf, a juicy slice of tomato, the sweetness of sauteed onions and the sharpness of a slice of cheddar cheese. Add 'em all or pick and choose depending on your mood.

And don't forget; always, always beetroot needs to come into the equation somewhere otherwise it would just not be considered a burger at all.

*I promise this is my last reference to Seinfeld.

Bunless Burger
with Beetroot Relish, Tzatziki and Roasted Tomatoes

For the patties:
500g lean beef mince
400g can of chickpeas, drained and lightly mashed up with a fork
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 egg
Salt and Pepper

For the beetroot relish:
400g can beetroot
2 tablespoons capers
Handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
Lemon Juice
Olive Oil

For the cucumber tzatziki:
1/2 a lebanese cucumber
200g plain greek yoghurt

2 cloves of garlic, minced
Squeeze of lemon juice
Mint leaves
Salt and Pepper

To serve:
Whole baby cos leaves, washed and dried
Cherry tomatoes on the vine, roasted for about 40 minutes on a low to medium oven

To make the patties place the mince meat, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, chickpeas and egg in a bowl and using your hands, combine all ingredients. To form the patties scoop a spoonful of the mixture into your hand and roll into a ball. Place on a dish and repeat until all patties have been made up. Leave in the fridge for at least half an hour before frying in order to help them retain their shape. When ready to cook, heat some oil in a fry pan over medium to high heat and fry the patties off until crispy and brown on the outside and cooked in the middle.

To make the beetroot relish combine the beetroot, half of the capers, a handful of chopped up parsley, salt, pepper and a few squeezes of lemon juice in a food processor and blend until a rough mixture is formed. Before serving stir through the rest of the capers for added texture.

For the tzatziki, half the cucumber lengthways and de-seed. Slice into thin half moon shapes. In a bowl combine the yoghurt, cucumber, garlic, salt, pepper, roughly chopped up mint leaves and a bit of lemon juice. I also like to add in a dollop of labneh for added creaminess and flavour.

When ready to serve, assemble the patties along with all the condiments on a plate, with a few cos lettuce leaves and the roasted tomatoes for a feast of burgery goodness!

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