This is a meal we grilled one so very cold and dark evening of the seventh of January of the new year of 2011. This was during one of these phases my brother and I went through. Inspired my a website called the cheese burger society of Wisconsin we went on a not so short lived burger spree. This burger mania has been reigned in at least to the level of what could be considered normal sanity. I do still indulge regulary with a cheeseburger. I think many will agree how important that is!
Lets move on, shall we? The minced moose came from one of my good neighbours who is a hunter. He is an ex-marine in the Swedish army and learned to hunt from his father. They have been hunting the grounds in Sweden's Smålands were this fall he got three moose. Moose are large creatures. Every animal has 200-300 kg of meat on them. That means a lot of meat....meat! For us lucky neighbours this means scraps. And not just normal scraps - really good scraps! We got some innerthigh, minced shoulder and some other cuts. Gustav and Ulrika - thanks for a wonderful meal!
The DEATH STAR of all Cheese burgers: Magnificent moose-burger with mature cheddar, homemade garlic aioli, portobello mushrooms and caramellized onions!
First things first! Usually the first things are the most important - this one isn't so. Pour a cold glass of beer and a small glass of Macallan 12 year old single malt Scotch and contemplate how awesome this meal is going to be! And it will be - the beer and scotch are just complementary!
Well - second things seconds. Slice down a couple of red onions. Warm some garlic oil in a pan and throw in the onions and fry over a low-medium heat - careful not to brown or burn the onions. We want them soft, sweet and savory. After 8-10 minutes add a tablespoon of golden syrup and cook for a minute. And then add 2-3 tablespoons of good balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil and then boil down to a concentrate. Season and when ready set aside and keep warm.
Cut 3-4 portobello mushrooms into medium size squares. Fry over low heat in some garlic oil. Season with some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside but keep warm.
Made some homemade ailoi - which is a just fancy name for homemade mayo! But it is more fancy than mayo - I promise! First squeeze two garlic cloves in a bowl (usually just one clove of garlic is required but I wanted it too be more pungent), add a heaped teaspoon of good Dijon mustard (Edmond Fallot for example), and one yolk from an egg of a happy chicken. Whisk. Add at a steady but sumptle stream of olive oil while whisking constantly and incorporating the oil in the emulsion. If you whisk this will work - if not you will have goo - probably delicious but goo at the most! Season with salt and pepper!
For the burgers I had some good moose meat - from the shoulder. The moose is a rather lean creature and has a rather low fat concentration. Fat in the meat of the burger is as important as the fat in a good sausage! So I added some ground pork (24% fat). I had a ratio of eighty percent minced moose (fat about 8%) and the rest ground pork. Mix thoroughly together. Form into patties and season generously with salt and pepper. Wait for the grill to warm up. If you are impatient - have a cold beer out in the cold weather. It eases the wait and you gain perspective.
Fire up the grill - even though it is in the midst of winter (the heaviest winter in the south of Sweden ever recorded). There is something cool (both literally and figuratively) about grilling in the snow. When the grill is hot place your burgers on the grill. After a few minutes turn them and place thick slices of mature cheddar cheese on the burgers and cook 'till the cheese has melted.
Serve with some homefries. Now some say that homefries fade in comparison to the fast food ones. I am not one of those "somes". The key to a succsesful homefry is the double fry! Cut good quality potatoes into fry-looking strings. Heat your oil. To check when it is ready it is easiest to use a thermometer - the temprature you are looking for is around 190 degrees Celsius. You can also put one fry in in the beginning - if it sizzles you ready to roll. Be careful not to overheat your oil - unless you want to invite the members of the fire department for dinner!
Now some might argue that the best beverage for a burger would be beer for the grown-ups and soda for the younglings. But for a meal of this caliber I thougt that a bottle of red wine would be in order and in hindsight this was not a mis-judgement! I popped the cork of an Italian wine - Monte Garbi Ripasso from 2008. It is made from a blend of three grapes, mostly Corvina in the region outside Venice. I found this to be an enjoyable wine, scents of dark fruit, rather delicate and dry on the tongue. Went really well with the burger.
Back to the burger; The death star of all cheeseburgers! It was made in the following manner. French dijon on the bun, then the portobello mushrooms, placed the tomatoes next, then rocket leaves. Now for the burger - dripping with chedder cheese, caramellized red onions on top and then close the deal with a bun spread with garlic aioli. Holy moly! Biting into this was a dream - an adventure for the tastebuds. I urge you to try it!