Pork burgers served over Trinxat with Garlic Camembert
Andorra is in the Pyrenees bordered by Spain and France. It’s tiny, but prosperous (big tourist destination). These folks have the 4th highest life expectancy in the world (Source: CIA World Factbook), maybe I’ll take up skiing and move there, live to 82…
Any way, the food here is cosmopolitan, lots of French and Spanish influence. The hardest part of coming up with an Andorra burger was finding something quintessentially Andorran versus generally European. Located in the mountains, they don’t have a huge agricultural industry, but they can grow potatoes and cabbage and they like cured meats (who doesn’t?). The most common native dish is Trinxat – a potato and cabbage mixture. Trinxat recipes vary a bit, but they all include the basics of cabbage, potatoes and bacon. The dish can be made more like a pancake (by adding egg or some kind of binding agent) or a little more rustically as I have done below.
In addition to Trinxat, I found a lot of references to a cheese infused with fermented garlic. Rather than torture us all by trying to locate this cheese or find fermented garlic, I chose a more Western cook friendly approach and just combined roasted garlic with a nice buttery Camembert that you can get at your local grocery store. I have no idea if this comes close to the authentic Andorran cheese, but it is delicious and really easy to make.
The end result is a really hearty burger, good for cold winter nights. I served it with an inexpensive Spanish wine from the Jumilla region called Wrongo Dongo. I couldn’t resist the name frankly. The label claimed that this wine would go with roasts or lighter flavors. All and all, it was ok, about what you’d expect for $8.99 – sharp, a little spicy and fruity, it worked with the burgers just fine, but next time I might try a mellower pinot…but that’s another blog.
I didn’t think this worked as a veggie burger – it ended up too bland, but it does work well with beef as well as pork. Be generous with the salt as the potatoes and cabbage tend to suck up the salt. Lastly, this recipe is a little more complicated than previous recipes because you want to serve the trixat hot you have to get the timing right. The actual recipes are simple, the total time is about an hour (you can do much of it ahead though).
Andorra Burger Recipe
1 tomato chopped
2 Tablespoon olive oil
1½ teaspoon fresh Thyme chopped
1 pound ground pork
Trinxat (recipe below)
4 Tablespoons Roasted Garlic Camembert (recipe below)
8 strips of cooked bacon
In a small bowl, toss the chopped tomato with 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon Thyme and a pinch of salt. Let sit while you prepare the burgers
In medium bowl, combine pork, ½ teaspoon thyme, 1 Tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt. Divide the pork into four patties. Grill the patties to 160 degrees internal temperature (about 8-10 minutes).
Divide the Trinxat into four equal portions and form each portion into a circle on each diner’s plate. Place patty on top of Trinxat, spread 1 Tablespoon Roasted Garlic Camembert on each then top with 3 strips of bacon and a spoonful of the tomato mixture. Serve immediately.
½ head of Savoy cabbage, outside layer and core removed
3-4 Yukon Gold potatoes (about 12 ounces), peeled and cut into large pieces
1 clove of garlic crushed and minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
¼ pound bacon (four strips)
Boil the cabbage in large pot for 35-40 minutes or until very soft (fork should pierce easily). In separate pot boil potatoes until very soft – about 20 minutes. Drain both potatoes and cabbage. Put both into a large bowl and mash together (I use a hand masher to get a chunky/rustic feel). Place oil and garlic in an 11 inch saute pan and turn on heat to low. Sautee garlic until lightly golden (about 3 minutes), stirring constantly (it burns easily, so keep the heat low and don’t walk away). Add the garlic to the cabbage mixture. At this point, you can refrigerate the Trinxat mixture covered for up to one day – just bring it back to room temperature before proceeding.
Cut the bacon strips in half. Turn the heat up on the sauté pan (don’t clean the garlic and oil out, it adds flavor), add the bacon cook until crispy (by cutting the strips in half you should get less curling in the bacon, and they will be the perfect size for the burgers).
Drain the bacon on paper towels. Reserve up to 2 Tablespoons of the bacon grease, pour off the excess. Do not clean the pan, heat the bacon grease in the same pan over medium high heat and add the Trixat mixture – flatten it so that it makes a large pancake shape. Cook for about 5 minutes. This is the only hard part – using a large plate or a cutting board, invert the Trinxat onto the plate/board, then slide back into the hot pan (so you can cook the other side). You’ll have to re-form the pancake, don’t worry if it sticks, just use a spatula and turn over the parts that don’t move easily. Cook for another 5 minutes or until hot all the way through.
Roasted Garlic Camembert
2.5 ounces Camembert – rind removed, at room temperature
2 cloves of roasted garlic
In small bowl, mash the garlic into the cheese. You can make this ahead of time and refrigerate for several days. It’s best if you bring it to room temperature again before using.
©Copyright 2011 Linda Monach