Southern Living (July 2010)
So we were extremely excited to see these Fig-Glazed Burgers with Red Onion Jam in the current issue of Southern Living. The promise of a tart onion jam touched with a hint of sweetness from the fig preserves, topped off with creamy, smooth Muenster cheese seemed like the perfect topping for a smoky grilled hamburger.
We did make one error, though, that nudged these burgers slightly toward the "Dessert" category.
We used a whole jar of fig preserves.
Well, okay. Not exactly. But the recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of jam, to be glazed on four hamburger patties. When Zach was tending to the grill, he called out to Clay, "How much of the preserves am I supposed use, again?" And Clay called back, "Three tablespoons." Well, Zach thought he meant three tablespoons...per burger. So he set about glopping great little gobs of preserves on each patty before smothering the burgers in cheese.
By the time dinner was ready, Zach had gone through most of a jar of preserves (to be fair, we were making 10 burgers instead of four, since we had guests joining us).
So the burgers were quite sweet.
Honestly, though, we don't think our guests even noticed. The mix of flavors was still terrific, and the sweetness from the fig preserves -- and the onion jam itself, which develops a nice "tart sweetness" of its own -- made for one delicious burger.
Note 1: As always, we ground our own beef for this. In addition to the health risks of pre-packaged, store-bought ground beef (which you can read more about here), grinding your own meat just makes for much tastier burgers. We always rely on Mark Bittman's method of freezing the meat just slightly, then grinding it in a food processor. For these burgers, we used a mix of sirloin and chuck steak meat. Pack the meat just enough to keep it together: The looser the burgers, the better they'll taste.
Note 2: For the life of us, we can't figure out why this recipe indicates that it takes "52 minutes" to cook these burgers. In addition to being oddly specific, it's just way more time than is actually required to make these. If you've got one person manning the jam, and another one grilling the burgers, you can have these on the table in under a half hour, even if you do freeze and grind your own meat.
Anyway, if you're looking for a way to jazz up a burger, this is a sure winner. (Just don't go overboard on the preserves!)
Total: 52 minutes
Yield: Makes 4 servings (serving size: 1 burger)
RED ONION JAM
• 4 cups thinly sliced red onions (about 2 medium)
• 1 teaspoon olive oil
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
• 3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
• Vegetable cooking spray
• 1 1/2 pounds ground round
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
• 3 tablespoons fig preserves
• 4 (1/2-oz.) Muenster cheese slices
• 4 hamburger buns, toasted
1. Prepare Onion Jam: Sauté onions in hot oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low; stir in sugar, vinegar, and thyme. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until onion is very tender. Keep warm.
2. Prepare Burgers: Coat cold cooking grate of grill with vegetable cooking spray, and place on grill. Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Gently stir together ground round and next 3 ingredients. Shape mixture into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) patties.
3. Grill patties, covered with grill lid, 5 minutes on each side. Top with preserves and cheese; grill 2 minutes or until beef is no longer pink in center and cheese is melted. Serve burgers on buns with desired amount of Red Onion Jam.