It’s National Burger Day. In the not too distant past, going out for a burger meant you were restricted to your local McDonalds or Burger King and, if you are a 40-something like many of us at SK are, you may even remember Wimpy!

Sitting down to a Big Mac, a Whopper, or a Wimpy Cheese Eggburger (yes, they existed) was a real treat if you grow up in the 1970s and 1980s, but, and be honest here, apart from the occasional visit to cure a hangover, how regularly do you frequent these establishments now?

The main reason, apart from they are not very good (Google ‘McDonalds burger decompose experiment and you will know exactly what we mean) is that we have been blessed with an explosion of ‘gastro’ burger joints on our high streets in recent years.

These include Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Byron, Shake Shack and our current personal favourite, Five Guys.

Now, granted, a trip to Five Guys can hurt your wallet, but once you taste their burgers, you definitely don’t feel like you have been short-changed.

We did a straw poll in the office and generally people like their burgers kept simple, so that means a bun, some cheese and perhaps a bit of bacon. We chefs are a different breed of course. We are all for bit of experimentation so we say yes to burgers with candied bacon, onion marmalade, goats cheese, truffles, pineapple and, yes, even peanut butter.

To mark National Burger Day, four of us in the kitchen had a burger off. Luckily for you we are sharing all four recipes, but please let us know which one you think is best, if only so one of us has the bragging rights for the week!

Chef Sean’s hoisin duck burger with rice wine & sesame pickled cucumber, crispy spring onion and Shitake fried rice fries.

Ingredients and method:

150g minced chicken thigh
215g shredded aromatic duck
16g mushroom oyster sauce
12g hoi sin seasoning
2g Chinese 5 spice
20g hoi sin sauce
22g fresh breadcrumbs
4g salt

Mix all ingredients together. Divide mixture in 4 even balls. Form the balls into patties. Fry in a hot frying pan with a little oil on each side until nicely browned. Transfer onto a baking tray and finish off in an oven preheated at 200c for 8 to 10 mins.

Pickled cucumber:
Half cucumber deseeded and very thinly sliced
120g rice wine
40g sugar
30g mix of white and black sesame seeds
10g sesame oil

Toast the sesame seeds in a hot sauce pan until white seeds start to colour slightly. Add the rice wine, sugar and sesame oil. Bring to a simmer and then pour over the cucumber slices in a bowl and allow to marinate for at least an hour.

Crispy spring onion:
Thinly slice a bunch of spring onions and fry in oil at 180c until crisp (about a minute). Drain off and place on paper towel to remove excess oil.

Tortilla discs for buns:
2 x 25cm bar marked wrap
Using a 85mm circular pastry cutter cut out 8 circular tortilla discs. Fry in 180c oil until crisp (about 1 minute). Drain and place on paper towel to remove excess oil.

Rice fries:
200g white long grain rice (cooked)
2 large eggs
20g light soy sauce
80g chopped shitake mushrooms
40g chopped soya beans
30g mushroom oyster sauce
22g plain flour
10g toasted sesame oil

Whisk the eggs and half the soy sauce in a bowl. Cook the eggs in a frying pan into an omelette with the sesame oil. Remove and chop quite small. Mix together all ingredients with the chopped omelette. Press the rice mixture into an oiled square silicon mould to about 10mm thick and place in the freezer to set. After an hour turn the rice out from the mould onto a chopping board. Cut into sticks and then fry in oil at 180c for about 2 mins.

To assemble

Use 1 crisp tortillas as a base, place a burger on top with a dollop of hoi sin sauce, spoon full of the pickled cucumber, some crispy spring onions and top with another crisp tortilla disc.
Repeat for the other burgers and serve with the rice fries evenly shared.

Chef Chris’s chocolate brownie dessert burger

Ingredients and method:

Chocolate brownie:
Melted Butter 190g
Soft brown sugar 150g
Caster sugar 150g
Eggs 3x large
Plain flour 100g
Best quality cocoa powder 100g
Honey 75g
Desiccated coconut 40g

Pre heat oven to 160oc. Whisk together sugar and eggs till light and fluffy While still whisking pour in melted butter and honey. Fold in flour and coconut till smooth and all combined. Pour into a 25cm square rubber silicone mould and bake 30-40 mins. Chill.

Sour Pineapple compote:
Tinned pineapple chunks 500g
Lemon juice 100mls
Brown sugar 100g
Water 100g
Place all ingredients in a large pan and cook till most of the liquid is gone and your left with shiny thick compote taste to check for sourness add more sugar or lemon if required.

Brioche doughnut buns:
Strong bread flour 250g
Salt 3.5g
Caster sugar 25g plus extra for tossing cooked doughnuts in.
Instant yeast 6g
Warm full fat milk 70 mls
Eggs medium x3
Soft butter unsalted 125g
Place all ingredient in an electric mixer and with the dough hook and mix till soft sticky dough is formed roughly 15 mins. Preheat deep fryer 180oc. Chill the mix for a minimum 2 hours Once chilled roll out to about 2cm on a floured bench and cut out with a 60mm round cutter place in oil and cook both side 2-3 mins each. Once cooked drain on kitchen paper then toss in sugar.

Honey mascarpone:
Mascarpone 300g
Honey 75g
Double cream 40g
Whisk all ingredients till thickened slightly and then chill.

Churros chips:
Water 200g
Sugar 40g plus 100g for cinnamon sugar
Cinnamon powder 20g
Salt 3g
Plain flour 125g
Baking powder 3g

Preheat deep fat fryer to 180oc. In a pan bring to the boil water, sugar and salt Then add flour and baking powder and beat off the heat until smooth. Leave to cool slightly then pipe through a star nozzle directly into the fryer. Cook till golden brown. Once cooked drain on kitchen paper, mix the sugar and cinnamon then then toss in the churros.

Cut out a disk of the brownie using the 60mm cutter then using all the components build the “dessert burger”.

Chef Oliver’s Mini cheese burger with a secret sauce

Ingredients and method:

650g Jade flour
200g Milk
150g Warm water
10g Salt
12g Sugar
15g Dry Yeast
60g Butter
50g Sesame seeds

Place the salt and the flour in a bowl and mix, add the sugar and dry yeast keep them separate in the bowl add the butter to the warm water and milk and slowly add to the mixture with a paddle until the mixture has formed a ball a little more water maybe required to bring the mixture together. Keep the dough in the bowl and with a bread attachment mix for 5min on slow speed
Work on the bench until you get a smooth dough allow to prove and rest clinq film for 1hour.

Weigh out individual balls of 50g and roll into a ball flatten slightly and brush each one with water then sprinkle the sesame seeds on the top. Allow to prove again for 30-40 min cook on 210 for 15min turn half way through to get an even colour allow to cool on a wire rack

Secret sauce:
176g Mayonnaise
2 tbsp Ketchup
1 tsp Mustard
½ teaspoon of smoked paprika
55g diced gherkins

Place all in a bowl and mix with a spoon leave in the fridge

500g Mince beef
70g diced onion
1 egg
6g salt
28g Worcestershire sauce
92g mozzarella
7g parsley
Extra tomato, cucumber and mixed leave

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until a ball is formed use a small cutter and place a small amount of the meat to make a patty leave in the fridge and chill. Take a frying pan with a small amount of oil and cook each side for 3-4min turn over and repeat, place on a baking tray add some extra mozzarella and bake until the cheese melts

Take a bread knife and cut the cool bread in half use the secret sauce and cover both sides of the bread add the cooked burger patty and mixed leave tomato and cucumber and serve.

Chef John’s Asian prawn and chicken burger with red onion and rocket bhaji in an aubergine bun.

Ingredients and method:

250g chicken thigh mince
250g raw prawns
10g milled lime leaf
10g milled red chillis
10g milled lemongrass
20ml soy sauce
55g liquid egg

Blend all the chicken until smooth and blend half the prawns. Chop the rest of the prawns and mix with the ingredients. Shape into patties and set aside.

Aubergine burger bun:
Cut two bottoms of aubergines to simulate a bun. Criss cross then deep fry for around 5 minutes until they go golden brown. Set aside to rest.

Red onion and rocket bhaji:
Sliced red onions
Fresh rocket leaves
Fenugreek leaves
Red chilli flakes
Gram flour
Curry powder
Sparking mineral water
Black onion seeds

Mix all the ingredients together and form into flat pattoes and fry for 2-3 minutes. Pan fry the chicken and prawn patties for 3 minutes on each side until cooked through. Slowly assemble with aubergine, chicken, bhaji, chicken, bhajhi, aubergibe. Then top with a bhaji and serve with sweet potato crisps.

About Neil Shaefer
Marketing & Communications Executive of SK Foods.
Your food. Our Passion.