“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


Sherry Burgers

Monday, January 30, 2012

When My Geek was away on business last summer, I took the opportunity to do a little experimenting with cooking.  There were a couple of things that made it into our regular repertoire of dinners after he got back home.

One night I was looking around the kitchen and found that I had a bottle of sherry I had bought to make French Onion Soup a while back.  I knew I would never drink it, so I thought I'd find another use for it in cooking.

I honestly don't remember how the idea of using it with ground beef occurred to me, but it turned out to be really tasty.  This recipe makes a burger that is nice and tender and full of flavor, and the sauce you get from the reduction of sherry used to deglaze the pan is just delicious.  It sounds like it uses a lot of sherry, but it cooks down, leaving no alcohol.

A couple of notes:

1) Since the time that I first made this, we started on the South Beach Diet, so now I make it without the brown sugar.  I like it a little better with the sugar, but it is quite tasty even without it.

2) This recipe is for one burger.  Just multiply by however many burgers you want.

3) The amounts of the ingredients are really just approximations as I rarely ever actually measure anything when I'm cooking, so keep that in mind and adjust to your taste. 

4) This is great with asparagus, but other veggies will do as well.  Green beans (fresh or frozen) are quite tasty with this burger.

Ingredients (per burger)
1/3 lb ground beef (I use 86% lean.  I know.  I'm evil.)
scant 1 Tbsp plus about 1/2 cup cream sherry (will be less than this per burger if you're making more than one at a time)
dash of cayenne
dash of Cajun spice mix  (this is the only pre-mixed spice I always keep in my pantry)
1/2 Tbsp brown sugar (optional)
2 slices bacon cut in half (4 half-slices)
1/4 small onion thinly sliced
shredded gruyere cheese (amount to your taste)
asparagus (as many pieces as you want)
olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 avocado, sliced (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix beef, scant 1 Tbsp sherry, cayenne, Cajun spice, and brown sugar together until well incorporated.  Form into a patty(s).  Sprinkle both sides of each burger with kosher salt.  Set aside.

Arrange asparagus in baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Bake for about 15 minutes, until tender when poked with a fork, but not mushy.

Fry bacon in a pan over medium heat until just crispy.  Remove to plate covered in paper towel to drain.

Remove all but about 1 Tbsp of bacon grease.  (You may want a little more if you're making more than one burger.)  Add 2 Tbsp sherry into same pan to deglaze bits of browned bacon in pan.  Add sliced onion.  Simmer until onions are nicely caramelized, about 10 minutes.  If pan starts to dry out, add just enough more sherry to keep pan from getting dry.  Remove onions to separate dish and set aside.

Raise heat to high.  Place hamburger patty(s) in pan and cook for about 2-3 minutes, again adding a small amount of sherry to deglaze if the pan starts to dry out.  Flip burger.  Top with caramelized onions, bacon slices, and cheese.  Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Remove to plate along with asparagus.  Cover to keep warm.  Add remaining sherry (about 2-3 Tbsp) to pan and simmer over medium heat until reduced to a syrupy glaze.  Drizzle over asparagus and burger.  Top burger with sliced avocado if desired.

Could be served on a bun if you like.  I ate mine without and it was quite tasty that way.

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At 1/30/2012 8:46 PM, Blogger Dave Sherman wrote:

Oh yeah, those are yummy!

At 2/05/2012 6:20 PM, Blogger Jan/ wrote:

If you don't want to use regular brown sugar, have you tried Splenda brown? It's half the carbs of regular. Another option is to use regular Splenda with a half tsp. or molasses. it's amazing how much flavor comes out of that half tsp., without so many calories or carbs.

At 2/14/2012 1:50 PM, Blogger JeaneBee wrote:

Since I love avocado, bacon, and asparagus, this burger sounds like something to try....not sure about the sherry though. I use Splenda all the time....I carry little packets in my purse..I've never tried brown sugar..but this would be a good time to try!


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