With this burger we are not going to beat about the garlic plantation. It is our explicit intention to have the recognisable flavour of garlic ever present. Let’s clear something up – there is no such thing as ‘breath that stinks of garlic’. What these counter-garlic revolutionaries are actually trying to say is ‘you carry the pleasant smell of garlic, I am jealous of the great meal you had’. Garlic is very healthy for you and has been used by humans to flavour food for over 7 000 years. If you have friends who frown upon the abundant culinary use of garlic, my suggestion is that you simply cut them from your circle of trust. Alternatively, give them a fair warning not to attend your garlic burger braai! Serves 4.
FOR THE BURGERS
- 1 kg beef mince
- 4 hamburger rolls
- 1 roll or slab of garlic and herb butter
- 1 tot olive oil
- salt and pepper (freshly ground)
- salad leaves
- 2 tomatoes (sliced)
FOR THE SAUCE
- 1 tot butter
- 6 garlic cloves (crushed and finely chopped – this is enough if the cloves are a decent size; otherwise use more because you want the sauce to have a strong taste of garlic)
- 1 tot flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup cream
- 1 cup cheese (aged white Cheddar, grated)
- 1 tsp salt
- Make the patties: Cut four disks of about 1 cm thick from the roll or slab of garlic butter. Use your wet hands, recently washed with soap and then rinsed with cold water, to divide the mince into 4 evenly sized balls and then form the patties around the disks of butter. The idea is to have firm patties with the butter disks at the centre. In practice you put a disk of butter on a ball of mince, push it right to the middle of the mince with one of your thumbs and then form the patty around it. To flatten and neaten them I like to put them on a flat surface, press down on the patty with the palm of one hand and pat them all around the side with the other hand. Put the patties on a plate and refrigerate until you’re ready to braai them.
- Make the creamy garlic sauce: Melt the butter in a pot and add the garlic. Let the garlic fry for about 30 seconds and then add the flour and mix well. Add a little bit of milk at a time and stir continuously. Keep on adding the milk and once it is all in, gradually add the cream and stir until all of that is in as well. Now let the mixture simmer for a few minutes. Add the cheese, stir that in and season to taste with salt. You could theoretically perform this step while you braai the patties but I like to do it beforehand and then to reheat and wake up the sauce just as it’s about to be served.
- Braai the patties: The biggest challenge is keeping the patties in one piece by ensuring that they don’t stick to the grid. Put the patties down very gently, do not press on them, do not handle them any more than is necessary, and when you turn them do it with extreme care. Start on very high heat to seal them quickly, hopefully before they have the chance to ‘sink’ into the grid and get stuck. Braai the patty for about 8 to 10 minutes in total. Once on each side will do the trick so you will need to turn them only once. Don’t fiddle with the patties to check whether they are sticking. As the meat starts to cook, it releases fat and juices and usually loosens itself from the grid. If you always have a big problem with patties sticking to the grid then brush them with oil on both sides before the braai.
- For bonus points: If you have the time and enough space on your braai grid, toast the insides of the rolls after you’ve buttered them during the final stages of your braai.
- Assemble your burgers: Place lettuce and tomato at the bottom of the bun, followed by your braaied garlic-stuffed patty and a generous helping of the creamy garlic and cheese sauce. Finish with salt and pepper.
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