Cheesy Burgers and Baked Potato Chips

Last week we had a bit of a heat spell in NYC – temps well into the 80’s in April were a bit unexpected, and not altogether welcome given that our building has yet to turn on the air conditioning!  But it did put us in the mindset that summer is coming, which meant that when I gave hubby the option of shepherd’s pie or hamburgers for dinner, he actually chose the burgers, something he is virtually never in the mood for.  I was pretty psyched about making burgers, although a bit disappointed to not have the opportunity to try out that shepherd’s pie recipe!  I’m wondering if that will have to wait until the fall…

In any case, I set out to find a wholesome burger recipe that would work well with my very lean grass-fed ground beef.  I came across a recipe on the Food Network website that was originally from EatingWell.com called Inside-Out Cheeseburgers.  The seasonings looked really nice and I was intrigued by the idea of putting the cheese inside the burger.  It turns out that while it’s a little more labor intensive to make the burger halves to stuff and then put together, these burgers were incredibly flavorful and stayed really juicy with the cheese inside.  Plus, I’m sure I used less cheese this way than if I had put it on top – a half cup shredded is only about 1.5 ounces divided into 4 burgers – not bad at all!

Next stop was side dish – burgers need potatoes, and I happened to have some yukon golds in my fridge that needed to be used up.  I am always trying to perfect the art of the baked potato chip/fry, and actually had some luck this time!  They came out crunchy without being greasy.  Note that I tried following the same method with sweet potatoes, but the only states I could achieve were raw, soggy, and burned – I couldn’t quite get them to crisp, so please let me know if you have any suggestions!

 

 

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Cheesy Burgers
adapted from Food Network

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound lean ground beef
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat the broiler.  Cover a pan with foil and coat with oil spray.

Gently mix beef, worcestershire, paprika, onion powder and pepper in a large bowl, preferably with your hands, without overworking. Shape into 8 thin, 4-inch-wide patties. Mound 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture on each of 4 patties, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Cover each with one of the remaining patties. Crimp and seal the edges closed.

Broil the stuffed patties, about 3-4 minutes per side for medium-well (I broiled 4 minutes on the first side and 2.5 on the second).  Let the burgers stand for 5 minutes before serving with your favorite toppings (photo includes ketchup, tomato, and pickles).

Makes 4 burgers

 

Baked Potato Chips
adapted from Teri’s Kitchen

Cooking oil spray, preferably canola
Russet or Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400° F.  Line two large baking sheets with foil. Spray lightly with oil, then use a paper towel to spread it all over the bottom and remove any excess.

Slice the potatoes to about 1/8-inch thickness – this is easiest using a mandolin or food processor.  Place on the baking sheets in one layer (you may need to do multiple batches depending on how many potatoes you are using). Spray the tops lightly with the oil. Pat off any excess with a paper towel. Bake until brown and crispy, about 15-20 minutes. (Start monitoring them after 15 minutes; some of the slices may brown more quickly than others, which which case you can take them out sooner and continue baking the others.)

Remove the chips from the pans and place on paper towels, salting immediately to taste.  Chips may be served immediately, or allowed to sit while making the remainder of the dinner.

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