I’m sorry it’s been so long between posts. We just put my youngest into day care in December and have had five viruses rip through our house since then. It has been a crazy few months with someone sick ALL THE TIME! Which leaves very little time for cooking and even less for writing. But the good news is that the baby is sleeping and I have a moment or two to get this recipe down on “paper”.
On our adventure to create a burger inspired by the cuisines of every country in the world (alphabetically of course), we have finally reached the much-anticipated France burger. I’m pretty sure most of you have heard of France and many of you know more than I do about the country, so let’s just keep the background simple. France is located in the heart of Europe. It shares a land border with Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Spain and Andorra, and it’s across the English Channel from Great Britain.
Not only is France’s location central in Europe, it’s cuisine is also central to much of modern day Western cuisine. The French have been foodies since before the United States was created. Their chefs are some of the most famous and influential in the world (or at least they were until the US created the Food Network and manufactured the “celebrity chef” phenomenon). If you’ve eaten Western style food, odds are at least part of what you ate was influenced by the French, and you can be sure that there isn’t a Frenchman alive who wouldn’t be willing to point it out to you.
I have a love/hate thing with French food…I can’t help but love the flavors and admire the technique, but some times I really hate the complexity and fussiness of classic French cuisine. Of course the French have an answer for that too, rustic French cooking takes simple classic ingredients and cooks them in non-fussy ways to create delicious food that is far better than it has any right to be. So, maybe I really have a love/love relationship, but please don’t tell the French, they’ll never let me live it down.
The biggest challenge in creating this recipe was in choosing a direction. There’s just an embarrassment of riches to choose from. The French love cheese (and if you’ve been paying attention, you know that I do too), they love mushrooms and truffles (ditto), sauces and foie gras. All yummy ingredients, but they don’t necessarily go together. The other problem is that many of these ingredients are extremely expensive, so save your pennies, this is a luxury burger.
I managed to take all of the input, all of the research, and my various experiences eating French food and I narrowed it down to two burgers. The first option was a beef burger with asparagus, Camembert, Béarnaise sauce and shaved truffles. The second was a beef burger with foie gras and braised chanterelle mushrooms. Both were crazy good, I mean crazy good. After careful consideration, and lots of finger licking, we decided that the foie gras burger was better and it was easier to make, which always wins for me. Paul and my mother both preferred the foie gras burger, my dad liked the asparagus option better, but his quote for this burger was that it had “no redeeming qualities”. He ate every bite however. Despite that, we’re over ruling him and going with foie gras – at $70 for 6.5 ounces, it’s a good thing that it is so good.
Splurge this once, you won’t regret it. The flavor is simple and clean, but rich and decadent. It went perfectly with a nice Chateauneuf-du-Pape. I also made some Potatoes Dauphinoise and roasted Brussels sprouts. It was a perfect dinner; even a Frenchman would have trouble debating how good this burger is 🙂
1 pound ground sirloin
3 small shallots, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 slices of French bread cut on a diagonal
3-4 ounces foie gras (Bloc de Foie Gras de Canard) sliced into 4 pieces
Braised Chanterelles (recipe below)
Combine the ground sirloin, shallots and salt and pepper and form into four patties. Grill the bread in butter until lightly browned. Remove from skillet, then add the patties to the pan and cook to desired temperature.
Plate the grilled bread then top with the burgers and a slice of foie gras on each and lastly a scoop of mushrooms. Top with the second slice of grilled bread. Eat it while it’s hot!
4 ounces chanterelle mushrooms roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon butter
¼ cup Madeira wine
Roast mushrooms in a dry skillet over medium high heat for two minutes. Add butter and toss until butter is melted and mushrooms are coated. Add Madeira and simmer over low heat until the liquid is evaporated, spooning the liquid over the mushrooms periodically.
©Copyright 2012 Linda Monach