06 January 2008

Recipe: Apricot-topped Curry Burger

I've been sick, which is why I haven't really been making anything to post. Last Wednesday I'd taken out a pork loin chop to make ginger pork, and beef to thaw for making into a meatloaf on Thursday, but I wound up so sick I spent all of Wednesday in bed and I skipped work on Thursday. I ate crackers and chicken soup.

On Thursday I made the ginger pork, just because I didn't want the meat to go to waste, but I couldn't taste anything and it hurt to swallow, so I wound up throwing it out. Friday, fortunately, I felt a fair bit better, so I decided to make the meatloaf. We always go out for dinner on Fridays, though, and I decided to make burgers instead as they'd cook faster and I didn't want to be stuck with food in the oven when my sister and brother-in-law wanted to leave.

I had to cut one apart to be sure they were cooked since our meat thermometre seems determined not to read anything above 100F, so I took a bite of that cut one that day. And oh my god, so good. Both pictures since have been microwave reheated, which is not my favourite thing to do to meat, but these burgers were so moist and juicy that even the microwave couldn't sap the goodness out of them.

So this recipe is kind of a hack job, taking parts of a meatloaf recipe from Sandi Richard's The Dinner Fix and adapting parts of a chicken recipe from YOU: On a Diet. Richard likes to cook with jams and chutneys and things like that, but I can't and won't buy one of every flavour of jam out there just so that when her recipe asks for plum sauce mixed with peach jam I'll be set. So I decided to use the topping from this chicken recipe. It was a smart move, I think.

Apricot topping
8 dried apricots
2 shallots
1 tbsp + 1tsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Chop up the apricots and shallots, making them fairly fine. Add ingredients to a hot frying pan and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has cooked away. Set aside. If you want, you can process or blend the mixture until smooth, or just leave it chunky as in the picture. (I processed it when I used it as a chicken topper.)

I didn't have white wine, so I used a tiny little splash of white wine vinegar and 2 tbsp of water. I don't know what difference that makes for the recipe, but it would probably be better with the wine. It uses a lot of oil, which comes directly from YOU, and I considered using less, but I used it all anyway because I thought it maybe helps keep the burger moist. A fair bit of the oil cooked off in the oven, and it doesn't taste or feel oily, so I don't think it hurts to use it all.

Burgers or Meatloaf
1 lb extra lean ground beef
salt, fresh ground black pepper
1 egg
1/4 c fine breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp Madras curry paste (I used Patak's brand, which is quite spicy, but I imagine you could use whatever type and brand of curry paste you like or already have; the recipe asks for Tandoori curry paste, but I had Madras, so that's what I used.)

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Shape into a long flat meatloaf or into four burgers. Place on a baking sheet. Top with apricot topping. Bake in a 350F oven until cooked through. It's done when a thermometre reads 180F. (My burgers took about 25 minutes, but we've an oven liner in the oven at the moment that seems to add to the cooking time. Though it does keep the oven clean. The recipe, which is for a 2-lb meatloaf, says it requires a 50 minute cooking time.)

My burgers were moist and juicy and delicious. A little bit spicy and a little bit sweet and just really good.

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