Tuesday 22 July 2014

Goat’s Cheeseburgers with Hot Relish and Caramelised Onion

Cheeseburgers can be an almost religious experience for some, and there are many different creeds and faiths. I’ve tried Blue, Pepper Jack, Mozzarella, Cheddar, Brie… but I have seen the light and now I worship at the alter of Goat’s. I was first served a burger like this out of a humble food trailer at a festival, and the second I saw them slide a whole round of cheese onto the grill, I knew they were on to something. Here’s my take.

(If you're not a fan of meat because of what I can only assume must have been blunt force trauma to the head, try making it with a giant falafel instead of beef. Bada-bing bada-boom, veggie friendly.)

Hallelujah! Show me the way, Brother!

    Get your buns ready. Now unclench and organise your bread for the burger. Prepare your own dough by following the recipe here. Then pull off a few chunks, make thick disks with them, let them prove for another hour and bake. While it’s proving and baking, make the relish and the burgers.

    Chop tomato, cucumber, and a little red onion. Mix with some vinegar, ketchup, tomato paste, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt, sugar, and some sliced chilli. Taste the relish, and adjust to your liking.

    For a great texture to the burger, get a lump of brisket and hand mince it with a decent knife. Heavily season with pepper and a little salt. Beat an egg and mix just enough with the meat to help bind it. Shape into a patty and fry in a little oil in a hot pan.

    Heat butter in another pan and throw in sliced red onion and some sugar. Fry until crisped, then lower the heat right down.

    When the burger is flipped and cooked through, place a thick round of goat’s cheese atop it and slide the pan under a hot grill for a minute. Slice your freshly baked bun in half, slip the cheese topped patty onto it, along with a spoonful of the onion, a few leaves of rocket and a big dollop of the relish. Amen.

I thought burgers came from McDonalds?

Heathen! Not today they don’t! Now follow closely, my child.


For the Burger
  • 200g of beef brisket (per burger)
  • 100g of goat’s cheese log (per burger)
  • 1 medium free range egg
  • salt
  • pepper
  • a handful of rocket
  • 1 red onion
  • 30g butter
  • a large pinch of sugar

For the Relish
  • a quarter of a cucumber
  • 1 vine tomato
  • a quarter of a red onion
  • 1 tbsp vinegar (white, cider, whatever)
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 a chilli pepper
  • a large pinch of sugar
  • a large pinch of salt

For the Bun

Okay, so yes, you could just use bread from the store. And you could just use mince from the butcher. But you also could just live on the street and eat garbage from a dumpster. The choice is yours. (Honestly though, using mince is fine. But hand-mincing the meat with a knife gives it a really different texture. Much meatier, if that makes any sense.)

    Follow the bread dough recipe right up to the part where you smack the air out of the dough. Now tear off the pieces that you need for buns. About half the size of a clenched fist should do for each one. Flatten them out a little, to make a circle about 2cm thick. If you try to make them bun-shaped now, they’ll swell outwards, rather than upwards. Doing it this way helps you control their final size and shape a bit better. Dust them with flour and place on your baking try, then leave to prove for an hour someplace warm.

    The relish can be made way in advance, but you can also just whip it up while waiting on the dough. Basically, you just need to mix all the ingredients listed, chopping up the cucumber, tomato and onion. Slice the chilli, removing some of the seeds if you don’t like things too spicy. And that’s it done! Proper relish requires cooking and other nonsense, but this way is super easy to throw together and has a much more refreshing taste. Try a spoonful and see if you like it. Add extra of whatever you feel like if it’s not quite right for you.

    To make the burger patties, you will need a sharp knife. Brisket is one of the cheapest cuts of beef around, and as long as it’s chopped small enough (or put through a mincer) it’s perfectly tender. When you get it, there’ll be quite a bit of fat. Trim off any tough bits, but leave some on. The fat will keep the meat from drying out when it cooks. Take your knife and start slicing the meat as thin as you can. Then pile up the slivers, and slice them thinly again, resulting in little shoestring strips. Rotate, and slice once more, making tiny pieces. Now they’re fine enough to be made into burgers, but because they haven’t been pulped like they would be in a mincer, they’ll still have a steak-like texture. Awesome.

    In a bowl, beat a single egg. One egg will do for 4 burgers (800g of beef). If you’re not making that many, remove some of the egg accordingly. A little egg will keep the burgers together, but too much will turn it into some kind of meaty omelette. Grind enough pepper on the chopped meat to make the kitchen smell like a pepper-mill, and sprinkle on some salt too. Chuck the meat into the bowl with the egg and mix it all around. Leave it in the fridge for now.

    Your buns are probably risen by now, so get your oven heated to 180ºC and put them in to bake. They’ll be ready in 15 minutes. Give them a knock on their base to check, it should sound hollow. Put them on a wire rack to cool, then make your burgers.

    Pour a little oil onto a frying pan and get it hot. Take the meat out of the fridge and scoop out enough for one burger. Shape it into something resembling a ball, then slap it down onto a plate. Flatten it a little to even it out, it shouldn’t be thicker in the middle than it is at the edge. Make as many burger patties as you want this way. You’ll need to fry them in the pan for about 5-7 minutes, flip, and fry for another 5-7 minutes. Use your own judgement for when you think they’re done to your liking.

    As the burgers are frying, heat up another pan and melt your butter in it. Slice up the red onion into half-rings and add to the pan. Sprinkle in some sugar, which will help bring out the sugar that’s already in onions. This, combined with the butter, will give that delicious caramel-sweet stickiness. Fry on a decent heat until the onions start to crisp up, then turn the heat down as low as it goes and leave them to sweeten.

    Once the burgers are cooked through, whack on your grill. Take a nice thick round of goat’s cheese per burger and place on each of the patties. Slide the whole frying pan under the grill and let the heat soften the cheese for about a minute. You don’t need to brown the cheese, all you want is to make it a little gooey.

     Now everything is ready! Carve your bread bun in two, slip the meat and cheese onto the bottom half, scoop on the caramelised onion, green it up with a little rocket and finish with a generous spoon of the relish. Sandwich with the top of the bun and serve. Too much work for just a burger? Make up your mind after you’ve tasted it. You just might be a convert too.

(A great way to save some patties for later (or get them ready in advance) is to take the ball of mince you’d use to make your burger and split it in half. Flatten the two halves out on a sheet of greaseproof paper so they’re really thin. Cover with another sheet, and bung them in the freezer. Then, whenever you feel like burgers, take them out and cook directly on the hot frying pan, as normal. Because they’re so thin, it doesn’t matter that they’re frozen, they’ll defrost on the pan in a minute and then will cook through. Once they’re done, just double them up in the bun for the same amount of meat as normal.)


  1. Hmm... tried to comment a minute ago but it doesn't seem to have worked... Anyway, just said that this looks amazing and I may have to buy meat just to give it a try or else replace that amazing looking burger party with a giant Portobello mushroom. I'll let you know how it goes if I do.

  2. Portobello would probably work great! Or King Oyster mushroom. Another good veggie alternative is Aubergine Steaks, nice thick rounds of Aubergine, fried up just like the patties. Do let me know how it works out!

    (Hmm, I hope Blogger doesn't make a habit of eating comments. Thanks for persevering!)

  3. Lauren @ A Nerd Cooks3 December 2014 at 18:09

    I love that you used the word "sploosh" in your Foodgawker description.

  4. I aim to please, Lauren ;) I’m actually glad you saw that, because it’s not displaying properly in all browsers. You using Chrome?

  5. That appears to be an entire cheese on top of the meat! As if I couldn't fall in love with your blog even more! Wow! And Caramelized onions are (one of) my (many) achilles heel(s)! (Getting so weak now it is a miracle I can even walk at all!)

  6. Go big or go home, that's what I always say ;)