Burger with the Lot
Oh, Australia! How we love your people and your burgers. Some of the nicest people I’ve met have been Aussies. And now, one of my favorite burgers is inspired by their burger traditions.
But, before we go into the food, let’s get oriented in the world. Australia is a large continental island in the South Western Pacific Ocean. Theland mass is just slightly smaller than the continental US.
The flavors of Australia are largely influenced by the British who began settling the island in the late 18th century. Recently there has been more awareness of and experimentation with traditional aboriginal flavors and ingredients. However, since most of those ingredients aren’t readily available outside Australia (kangaroo meat anyone?), nor are they commonplace in every day Australian cooking, I decided to stick with more main-stream flavors. Australia is also the first country I’ve come across that has a burger that is widely accepted as the Australian burger. So, rather than concoct something with Vegemite that we would all probably regret (yes, I found some Vegemite and tasted it and I can’t understand how an otherwise lovely group of people could claim this as a yummy food product – it’s gross), I decided to try to make the Australian burger. I double checked my facts with my Aussie friend (gotta love a country that the natives refer to as Oz), and came up with a couple of musts – the authentic burger must have Worcestershire sauce in the meat and must have pickled beets (beetroot to the natives). The rest is really ala carte. For the ultimate “Burger with the Lot”, a perfectly fried egg is essential for the final ingredient. Eating something that has beef, cheese, bacon and a fried egg takes a certain amount of courage and is not for the cholesterol challenged among us, but OMG – it is SOOOO GOOOD! The pickled beets were perfect counterpoint to the richness of the egg – I’m in love with this burger. Eat with caution and in moderation, but this is bound to change the way you look at a burger with everything.
I didn’t attempt a veggie burger with this one as it just didn’t make much sense given that meat and egg are two of the toppings. We did try two Australian Shirazes and they worked well with the rich flavors of the burger. The Peter Lehmann 2008 Shiraz was actually a little on the mild side for Australian wine, but the flavors were rich and complex enough for a $15 wine. New to us was the Chocolate Box 2007 Dark Chocolate Shiraz – I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get a strong chocolate flavor, but only a little, cause the wine was tasty – big, rich fruit, exactly what you expect from an Aussie Shiraz. Again, $15 and a good value.
One note – this burger is a bit of a pain to make because you want the burger and the eggs to be done at the same time – it helps to have a friend cook the burgers while you cook the eggs.
So grab a friend or two, a bottle of Shiraz or two, take a Lipitor and get ready for a rich and tangy burger that requires about 12 napkins to eat with any kind of grace at all.
If you like this burger, try the Colombian Burger it’s also messy and delicious!
Australian Burger with the Lot
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
8 slices pancetta sliced thin*
4 burger buns
1 pound 80% lean ground beef
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
4 ounces sharp cheddar sliced into 4 slices (preferably Australian cheddar if you can find it)
1-2 tomatoes (sliced)
4 Tablespoons ketchup
12 slices pickled beets**
4 eggs cooked sunnyside up
*you can use regular bacon but the flavor is a bit too strong for the other ingredients, pancetta has a softer flavor that really compliments the other ingredients. You can find it in the deli section of a well stocked grocery store.
**these can be found in the international (English) section or in the canned vegetable section of a well stocked grocery store and they typically come in jars. I used the plain ones rather than beets with lots of different spices, experiment and find what you like. If you can’t find already pickled beets, just buy sliced beets and pickle them yourself with vinegar, you can find lots of recipes and how to on the internet.
Heat oil in a non-stick sauté pan, add onions and sauté over med high heat for about 10 minutes until lightly browned and soft (I don’t try to keep the rounds together as I like my onions completely softened, if you keep them in rounds, you’ll get a firmer texture – do what makes you happy). Remove onions from pan and set aside. Lower heat to medium and add pancetta. Cook pancetta until lightly browned turning once. Remove pancetta and set aside.
Combine ground beef with Worcestershire sauce and salt. Form into four patties and cook on indoor grill pan until they reach desired temperature. Add the cheddar cheese when the burgers have 1-2 minutes left to cook and melt cheese slightly.
Lightly toast burger buns. On each bottom bun layer; lettuce, 3 pickled beets, burger, grilled onions, tomato, pancetta, ketchup and one sunny side up egg*** – then end with top bun.
I suggest each person cut their burger in half before eating in order to break the egg yolk and get all that yumminess in every bite.
***Note: I am not including a recipe for how to cook a sunny side egg because Master Chef Fernana Point perfected the technique and I have nothing to add. If you don’t have your own method, do an internet search on his name along with “sunny side up egg” and you will find the details.
©Copyright 2011 Linda Monach