Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mini Burgers

Finally, last weekend, the stars aligned and I was able to purchase some beef from the guy who sells grass fed beef at the farmers market. Raulito picked up some fillet mignon and I got some ground chuck. I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with it, but as we were walking home, I got the idea to do mini burgers. Anyone who has read this blog for a while knows that I am completely in love with Chaya Brasserie which is just down the street from my apartment and my go-to spot for drinks. I am actually going this afternoon for happy hour. My favorite thing to order from Chaya's happy hour menu is the mini burgers, but their regular sized burger is a site to behold. I have only had it twice, but each time it leaves me with fond memories and a strong desire to create something similar on my own so that I don't have to pay Chaya's prices. Here are the basics of a Chaya burger: beef (duh), caramelized onions, spicy mayo, and a nice cheddar. I decided to make something comparable to Chaya's full size burger, but in miniature form. I wasn't really in the mood to purchase a bunch of mini buns since I found a recipe that was quite simple. I mixed everything together in my handy dandy mixer, but it is a recipe that can be done just as easily by hand. I went with Martha's recipe for the "best beef burger" and I must say, it was really good. The burger part actually reminded me more of the burger from the Village Idiot (another favorite burger of mine), and it went really well with all of the other ingredients. I used some nice aged Vermont cheddar and caramelized some onions in the pan for about 40 minutes. I was actually interested in trying the recent LA Times recipe for caramelized onions, but I went to a movie in the afternoon so I really didn't have four hours to spend caramelizing onions. I'll save that for another day. For the spicy mayo, I just added some cayenne to some mayonnaise. After the work of making my own buns and burgers, I decided to save some time (and calories) so instead of serving these with homemade french fries, I went with some popped potato chips. Although, I must admit, that by the time the burgers were ready, I was so starving that I scarfed down a couple of burgers and completely skipped the chips. Good thing they are just as good on their own. These are really, insanely good burgers that despite the time, are easy to prepare. The recipes below are just more of a method than recipes because the toppings are completely up to you depending on your preferences, but wow these sure went well with the toppings I picked. Happy Sunday! Don't you wish every weekend was a three day weekend?

*UPDATE* I have changed the title of this post because according to A Hamurger Today, these are mini burgers and not the "appropriate" definition of a slider :)

Mini Burgers

For the buns:
(Adapted from King Arthur)

3-4 ounces lukewarm water
1 tablespoon softened butter
1 egg
1 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients—by hand, mixer, or bread machine—to make a soft, smooth dough. Cover the dough, and let it rise for 1 hour, or until it's doubled in bulk.

Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a round about 1 1/2-inches across and 3/4-inch tall (more or less). Place the buns on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover, and let rise for about an hour, until very puffy.

If desired, brush buns lightly with egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water), and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake the buns in a preheated 375 F oven for 12 to 15 minutes, till golden. Cool on a rack.

For the burgers
(Adapted from Everyday Food: Great Food Fast)

1 pound ground chuck
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cheese slices
Tomato slices
Caramelized onions

Heat the grill to high. In a medium bowl, use a fork to gently combine the meat, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Gently form the mixture into balls about 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Pat down until 1/4-1/2 inch thickness.

Place the patties on the grill and sear until browned, about 3-4 minutes per side.

Split the buns and toast of the grill if you like; place a burger on each bun and serve with the desired accompaniments.

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Erica said...

Ah! Looks so good. I love that you made the buns, I bet it made them that much better. I usually buy the sweet hawaiian dinner rolls when I make mini burgers (oh so good). Have fun at the happy hour ;)

Reeni said...

They look so good! Your toppings are my favorite toppings. I wish I had some beef-I have such a craving now!

vanillasugarblog said...

And you made your own buns? Girl, I give you a couple gold stars today for sure!
Sliders are my addiction. Chili's, has some good ones (it's the only thing I will eat there) and Cheesecake Factory has some amazing ones. I would love to figure out what Chili's uses in their onion relish/topiing.

Anonymous said...

Love the sliders! And extra kudos for making your own buns AND caramelizing the onions. Delicious!

Joie de vivre said...

Is it okay to call food cute? Because those are so cute. The fact that you made your own buns is what puts these over the top for me. Well done!

Heather said...

how cute are those little guys! i love them!

Esi said...

Mmm, you should all try them! I ended up skipping out on my friends mini burgers tonight since I had just had my own.

Dawn, I haven't tried the Chili's burgers yet...probably because it has been years since I have been to Chilis. One of our clients just gave me a Cheesecake giftcard though so I will probably go soon.

Kathy, THANKS!

Joy, of course it is ok to call food cute!

Anonymous said...

I am so impressed you made your own buns!

I have small hands and always end up making small burgers that are almost the size of sliders. They are way too small for the buns I buy.

I am going to have to start making my own.

Anonymous said...

Dijon in the burger...another good tip!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Yup - that is an insanely good looking burger! And I cannot believe you made the buns! Wow!

Unknown said...

LOVE these :) i have a mad burger craving now!! and your own buns!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful sliders! Best looking babies I have seen in a while.

I am going to whip up a batch of these sliders (although I am going to use ground bison in my sliders).

Then my wife and I are going to pig out on the wonderful sliders on home made buns (your suggestion).

And I am going to call them "SLIDERS" with every delicious bite.

Rumela said...

Hey those mini burger look yummi,I love eating breakfast and always try new fast food recipes. I would love to try the mini burger for breakfast. that looks tasty. mini burger is also a snacks food option and can make a satisfying breakfast. The Photos are amazing... I am already feeling hungry.