Tag: burgers

Kidney Bean, Cumin, and Beef Polpette with Torta al Testo

Kidney Bean, Cumin, and Beef Polpetti with Torta al Testo

I decided to fly to London for one day to meet a girl for a kitchen feature whose work I’ve been following for quite a while: Claire Ptak of the acclaimed Violet bakery. But then I started thinking about all the other inspiring people I know who also live there, so I felt tempted to meet a few more people for even more meet in your kitchen features. In the end, I met 1 baker from California, 2 kitchen chefs at the Brown’s Hotel, 1 Vogue journalist, 2 bloggers, a friend from the fashion industry plus my publisher’s team in London – all in 3 days. Now I’m back home, a little tired, but with fantastic, new kitchen features in my pocket and I can’t wait to share them with you over the next few weeks.

There was a lot to organize before my departure to make my tight schedule work, so I couldn’t spend much time on cooking, which my boyfriend happily used to take over our kitchen for a few days. One of his delicious and experimental creations was cumin polpette in a fruity tomato sauce. He used mashed kidney beans for the beef mixture, instead of the usual breadcrumbs and eggs, and kept some of the purple beans whole for the sauce. The texture of the floury legumes is perfect to loosen up the minced meat, the result is simply delicious. It was so good that we had it twice in a week, the second time with torta al testo on the side, Umbrian flatbread cooked in a cast iron pan, to stuff with the juicy cumin bean polpette and the aromatic red sauce.

Kidney Bean, Cumin, and Beef Polpetti with Torta al Testo

 

Kidney Bean, Cumin, and Beef Polpetti with Torta al Testo

Kidney Bean, Cumin, and Beef Polpette with Torta al Testo

You can find my torta al testo recipe here or you can serve the polpette with any other flatbread or ciabatta. If you want to make your own torta al testo, mind that the yeast dough has to rise twice. Once it’s well risen, the bread only needs to cook for about 3 minutes in a hot pan.

Serves 2

minced beef 400g / 14 ounces
kidney beans (tinned), rinsed and drained, 250g / 9 ounces
medium red onion, finely chopped, 1
garlic, crushed, 2 large cloves
medium fresh red chili, cut into tiny cubes, 1
fresh coriander leaves 2 large handfuls
ground cumin
fine sea salt
ground pepper
olive oil
tomatoes (tinned), 400g / 14 ounces
pinch of sugar

Using your hands or the dough hooks of an electric mixer, mix the minced meat with a handful of the beans (squeezed until mushy), 3/4 of the onion, garlic, 1/4 of the chili, a large handful of coriander leaves (not chopped), 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt and a generous amount of ground pepper in a large bowl until well combined. Wet your hands and form 4cm / 1 1/2″ meatballs, transfer the polpette to a plate.

Chop a small handful of the remaining coriander leaves and set a few whole leaves for the topping aside.

Heat a generous splash of olive oil in a large, heavy pan and cook the polpette with the remaining onions on medium-high heat for a few minutes until just light brown on all sides. Take out the meatballs and add the remaining beans (whole) to the hot pan, cook for 1 minute on high heat, stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes, chopped coriander leaves, 1/4 teaspoon of cumin, sugar, salt, pepper and 1/4 of the chili. Chop the tomatoes finely and transfer the polpette back to the pan. Stir gently, close with a lid and simmer for about 3 minutes on medium-low heat.

Season the sauce to taste and sprinkle with the remaining coriander leaves and chili. Serve the meatballs with torta al testo (or flatbread) on the side or inside the bread.

Kidney Bean, Cumin, and Beef Polpetti with Torta al Testo

 

Kidney Bean, Cumin, and Beef Polpetti with Torta al Testo

 

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Fennel Burger and Elderflower Onion Sandwich with Gruyère

Fennel Burger and Elderflower Onion Sandwich

If two passionate cooks are in a relationship you need a well thought-out kitchen plan. My boyfriend and I have a great passion for cooking, we love to experiment with recipes and ingredients but it just doesn’t work at the same time. A cook is a leader and therefore needs total command in the kitchen to guarantee successful results. So many, many years ago we made a wise decision: depending on the recipe, one of us takes over control and has the last word when it comes to the important decisions, and the other one just assists. It works perfectly, no discussions and no arguments as long as we stick to the plan and don’t get in each other’s way.

Luckily, we love the same cuisine, Mediterranean and North European comfort dishes. The preparations are always quite relaxed and most of the time very satisfying at table. While chopping and cooking, there is often wine, cheese and olives involved to nibble and chill, I’ve mentioned it so often, it’s definitely my favourite way to end a day. However, life would be boring, if two people had the same approach in the kitchen and we’re definitely two absolutely different personalities. We find inspiration in different ingredients, flavours and combinations. My man likes it a bit more crazy, wild and experimental when he takes over the kitchen. He often combines flavours which seem too far apart to my mind, but the results are delicious and that’s what counts.

A few days ago he came up with the genius idea to deglaze onions with elderflower syrup, it was fantastic! And to make it even better, he placed them on top of juicy fennel burgers. So, you need to know, when he uses our fennel seeds from Malta, he measures them by the tablespoon and not the teaspoon, the aroma is strong and present in this recipe and pure bliss in combination with the elderflower onion’s smoky sweetness. There was also a thin layer of melted Gruyère cheese in between and at that point I knew I would have to share this recipe with you! I loved it!

Fennel Burger and Elderflower Onion Sandwich

 Fennel Burger and Elderflower Onion Sandwich with Gruyère

For 8 burgers (or 4 hungry people) you need

For the sandwiches

medium sized onions, cut in half and thinly sliced, 3-4
butter 1-2 tablespoons
elderflower syrup, about 6 teaspoons, to taste
salt and pepper

rustic white buns, cut in half, 8
crunchy lettuce, 8-16 small leaves
Gruyère cheese, 8-16 slices

For the burgers

minced beef 1 kg / 2 1/4 pounds
dry breadcrumbs 80g / 1/2 cup / 3oz
organic eggs 2
garlic, crushed, 2 cloves
fennel seeds, crushed in a mortar, 2 tablespoons
salt 3 teaspoons
pepper
butter 1-2 tablespoons
olive oil

Start with the onions and fry the burgers at the end, you want them to be hot enough to melt the cheese.

In a heavy pan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and fry the onions for about 10-15 minutes until golden brown and soft. Add more butter if they dry out. When they are done, turn up the heat and deglaze with a splash of elderflower syrup. Season with salt and pepper to taste, take off the heat and set the pan aside.

Mix the ingredients for the burgers in a large bowl (with your hands or the hooks of an electric mixer) and form 8 thick burgers with wet hands. Heat a generous splash of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter in a heavy pan and fry the burgers on medium-high heat for 1 minute on each side, turn down the heat to medium-low and continue frying until they are golden brown, add more butter if necessary. The cooking time depends on how well done you like them, cut a burger in half to check the inside. Once they are done, lay 1-2 slices of cheese on top of each warm burger immediately.

Arrange 1-2 slices of lettuce on the bottom half of each bun, lay the burgers with the cheese on top and finish with the onions. Close the buns and enjoy!

Fennel Burger and Elderflower Onion Sandwich

 

Fennel Burger and Elderflower Onion Sandwich

 

Fennel Burger and Elderflower Onion Sandwich

 

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