Back to Our Roots Burger
This burger is inspired by the traditional and changing culture of the upper Mississippi valley.It incorporates elements familiar to Iowas historical farm families with a growing interest in new ideas in cooking and taste. The burger, easy and economical, has been a staple of Iowa families for generations. It utilized trim from family meat production operations, was quick to prepare when everyone was needed for farm chores, and tasted good. This burger includes a tribute to root vegetables, vitally important because they got country families through the winter. Beets, parsnips, turnips and carrots were easy to grow in the fertile garden soil, and kept all winter in household root cellars. Buttermilk and goat cheese are added to the recipe to acknowledge their importance on many farms where regular milk and cheese were sold for needed cash but these provided cheap and nutritious alternatives. To recognize the changing tastes of Midwesterners, as people seek more depth of flavor, the burger includes a tasty wine sauce.
For the sauce:
1 large stalk celery, coarsely chopped
1 medium green pepper, coarsely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 large clove garlic, smashed
1 bottle Sutter Home, Pinot Noir (2005 if available)
4 packets sodium-free beef bouillon powder (Herb Ox brand if available)
1/3 cup buttermilk
For the root vegetable medley:
1 large turnip, cut into thin French-fry slices (optimally, slightly less than 1/4 in.)
2 large (big in thickness, not length) parsnips, cut into thin French-fry slices
1 large beet, cut into thin French-fry slices
2 large (big in thickness, not length) carrots, cut into thin French-fry slices
1 cup flour
2# ground chuck, about 85% lean
3 tbs buttermilk
3 tbs very finely chopped onion
6 tbs mild goat milk cheese, such as Capricorn French style
1/4 tsp salt
6 Kaiser rolls
Mayonnaise, preferably olive oil
Standard grilling equipment, tongs, spatula, hot pads, chef’s knives, paring knives, measuring tools, etc.
French fry slicer such as a mandolin or V-slicer with French fry attachment
Wine bottle opener
1 10- inch cast iron skillet
9 x 13 baking pan for warming
A large bowl for the vegetables
A small bowl for the sauce
Onion chopper, such as the kind that are pounded
White paper towels
A wine glass
I use charcoal so I start early to prep the coals. When hot put the skillet on to heat. Prep the vegetables.
For the sauce add about a tablespoon of olive oil to the iron frying pan. When hot add the celery, green pepper, onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper and sauté to brown but do not let the garlic burn, about five minutes. Add about 2/3 of the wine and the bouillon powder. Cook at a low boil to reduce, about 20 minutes, depending on the heat. Reduce to a thin sauce and add the buttermilk. Move to a cooler section of the grill but continue to cook, stirring frequently until it thickens to a medium sauce, about five more minutes. Reserve to the small bowl and cover. Pour the remainder of the wine into the glass and enjoy.
Salt and pepper the root vegetables and mix in the large bowl with enough flour to generously dust them. Cook the vegetables in batches to not crowd in the pan. For each batch, heat about four tablespoons of olive oil in the pan and add the root vegetable “French-fries”, turning frequently to cook until they are nicely browned, about 7 minutes, depending on the heat. Reserve the batches to the warming pan over a cooler section of the grill. Put paper towels in the bottom to absorb any oil.
Slice the goat cheese into very thin slices, dividing the slices into six batches and set aside. Slice the rolls and brush the cut face with a little olive oil. Very finely chop the onion and garlic and add to the ground chuck with the buttermilk and salt. Mix gently and form into six portions. For each burger form the beef into two patties 4-5 inches across. Top one of the patties with a batch of the goat cheese slices and cover with the other patty, gently sealing the edges. Grill the burgers over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes per side. After turning the burgers add the Kaiser Rolls to the grill face down. Toast the rolls until lightly browned, about 3 minutes depending on the heat.
To build the burgers, spread each Kaiser Roll bottom with about a tablespoon of mayonnaise, add a burger. Top with a heaping bunch of vegetables. Spread wine sauce on the tops and cover the burgers. Hold together with a toothpick.