Bistro Burgers

Whew, so I am officially back from a fantastic vacation and ready to share all of the fabulous places, foods, and drinks we experienced.  I had high expectations that I would share this vacation daily and really keep up with everything as the days went, but after walking miles and miles every day and drinking too much champagne, the last thing on my mind was typing on a computer.  I did take notes and tons of pictures- so yeah me!!

One of the places that we visited was Paris, so I thought that I would start with a recipe inspired by one of the most popular items on almost every menu in almost every bistro or brasserie.  This really surprised me and it seems like Parisians really love hamburgers.  (They also really love smoking, but that's a different story.)  So, as a fellow burger lover, I embraced the trend completely.

This burger is sweet and savory with a slight hint of mild, salty cheese.  Pair it with a delicious burgundy style wine (my all-time favorite Beaux Freres), pomme frites, and the meal is complete. The inspiration for this delicious pairing started at Bistrot Marloe in the Champs Elysees District (8th arrondissement).  This restaurant is Michelin Rated and absolutely fabulous. The original burger featured a cranberry jam with strips of bacon, as well as my all-time favorite sauce-Bearnaise.  I decided to combine the bacon and the jam, because who doesn't love bacon jam.  I kept the sauce and added Gruyere cheese in place of the Emmental. 

Bistro Burgers

(Printable Recipe)

For the burger:
2 pounds 85% lean ground beef
salt and pepper to taste
slices of Gruyere cheese
6 brioche hamburger buns

For the Cranberry Bacon Jam:
4 slices of bacon
2 medium onions, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 ounces cranberry sauce with whole berries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

For the Bearnaise Sauce:
3 tablespoons white wine
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 shallot, minced
6 tarragon leaves, minced
1 1/4 sticks of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon water
salt and pepper to taste

To cook the burgers:

Season hamburger meat the salt and pepper.  Divide the meat into 6 equal portions ( about 6 ounces each).  Form each portion loosely into a 3/4-inch thick burger.

If using a grill:
Heat a gas grill to high or heat coals in a charcoal grill until they glow bright orange and ash over. Grill the burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the first side, about 3-4 minutes. Flip over the burgers. Cook beef burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the second side, 4 minutes for medium-rare or until cooked to the desired degree of doneness. Top with cheese and allow to melt.  At this time, I usually toast the buns for a minute.

To make the Cranberry Bacon Jam:

In a deep saucepan, cook the bacon reserving the bacon fat.  Remove the bacon and add the onions.  Season with salt and red pepper flakes.  Cook over medium heat until the onions begin to brown.  Reduce the heat to low and cover.  Cook for 20-25 minutes until the onions are caramelized.  Increase the heat to medium-low and add the cranberry sauce.  While the cranberries are cooking, chop the bacon.  Add the chopped bacon back into the cranberry-onion mixture and mix well.  Remove from heat and add the balsamic vinegar.

To make the Bearnaise Sauce:

In a small saucepan add the wine, vinegar, and minced shallots.  Cook over medium-low heat until reduced by half.  Reduce the heat to low and add the butter. Melt the butter and add the tarragon leaves. Transfer the entire mixture to a warmed double boiler.  Place the egg yolks and water in a small bowl and mix well.  Add the egg-water mixture to the butter mixture and whisk slowly until combined.  Be careful not to overmix, due to the eggs separating.  Serve warm.