Ernest Hemingway loved his burgers…and he loved to put all kinds of crazy ingredients in them. Following the basic guidelines of his recipe, seen below, I put my own spin on it.
I skipped the India relish. Didn’t have it in my pantry.
Beau Monde Seasoning is readily available, but I made my own at home:
1 tablespoon cloves
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon Bay leaf powder
1 tablespoon allspice
2 tablespoons black pepper
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon white pepper
Combine all these ingredients, grinding to a powder whatever you have as whole pieces: cloves, bay leaves, nutmeg, etc. Store in a tightly sealed glass jar.
And Mei Yen Powder can be replaced with equal parts salt, sugar, and MSG (which I leave out.) To this I add some soy sauce.
So here’s my take on it:
1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
2 garlic cloves, squeezed through a garlic press
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1 tablespoon capers
1 teaspoon dried sage
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon homemade Beau Monde seasoning
1/3 cup white wine (I use Alice White chardonnay)
1 raw egg
Combine all ingredients and let it sit in the fridge for an hour. The meat may be a bit mushy, but you can form 4 equal sized patties. Place them in a hot ovenproof pan that has a little oil and sear on one side. Flip burgers, and sear on the other side. Place pan in a 350-degree oven and cook until desired doneness.
The verdict: Hemingway was crazy! Though the burger had some exotic flavors–it tasted almost like a burger from the Middle East–my personal choice is still to go with a relatively plain burger of exceptional quality, season it lightly, and cook it to medium-rare. Toppings like caramelized onions or sautéed mushrooms are always welcome, but in many ways, less is more. Hemingway clearly thinks more is more…but maybe his burger meat wasn’t all that good and he need to mask the bad flavor. Anyway…a fun experiment!