I want to talk about burgers for a moment. They are a favourite the world over, with every variation you can imagine. But whether they are high end and sophisticated or simple and sloppy, a burger is essentially ground meat in a bun. That’s why, for me, Smash Burgers are the best burgers. They’re simple, they’re quick and they lock in amazing flavour inside an equally amazing, caramelised crust. In this variation we’ve used Venison and Blackberry to bring an autumnal twist.
400g Minced Venison
4 Potato Rolls, toasted
4 Slices Mature Cheddar Cheese
2 Shallots, sliced
1 Baby Gem Lettuce
4 tbsp. Blackberry Jam
Generous Pinch of Salt and Pepper
1 tbsp. Mayonnaise
1 tbsp. Tomato Ketchup
1 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
THE BURGER SAUCE
1. Classic burger sauce is hard to beat and basically comprises of equal parts Mayonnaise, Tomato Ketchup and Mustard mixed together to create a time-honoured burger sauce. I always think of burger sauce as a perfect vehicle for using up dregs from the various condiments you have lying around – Worcester sauce, tabasco, maybe some diced raw onion or pickles, hot sauce, marmite… I kept to the classic in this version but experimentation is to be encouraged and applauded.
THE VENISON BURGER
1. Remove the Venison from the fridge 15 minutes before cooking.
2. Place a large, heavy pan over a high heat and add a splash of oil. Add the onions into the pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes until starting to colour but with a little bite still. Remove from the pan and set aside.
3. Before cooking the venison burgers, you are going to want to set yourself up an assembly station with all of your burger components easily accessible.
4. Place the large, heavy pan over the heat again and turn up to full heat until it gets smoking hot. Brush the pan with a little oil. Divide the the venison mince into 4 portions, handling as little as possible and definitely not forming into patties or balls. Essentially you want a loose handful of mince.
5. Working in batches, place one handful of venison mince into the pan and then smash flat with a spatula until about 10cm wide. Don’t worry if it’s not perfectly circular. Season the top heavily with salt and then leave undisturbed for about 2 minutes. Using a metal spatula scrape underneath the burger – ensuring you keep as much of the caramelised underside as possible, and flip over. Season with salt and pepper and then add a slice of cheese over the top of the patty. for about 1 minute until the cheese has softened. Covering the pan will help the cheese soften.
6. To assemble your burger, spread the jam onto the bottom half of the bun, followed by a generous helping of onions, the burger, two lettuce leaves and finish with the top half of the bun spread with the burger sauce. Repeat for each venison burger and serve.