Saturday 18 November 2017

The domestic: Sophie White dresses to impress

Being posh, himself has nothing to prove with his plain patty, says Sophie White, but hers is dressed to impress

Himself is posh and I'm a firmly middle-class girl. Nowhere else are these discrepancies in our backgrounds more evident than in the kitchen. Take the simple act of a barbecue -- OK, not so simple in this country of sideways rain, but humour me.

He, being of pure (blue) blood and secure in his position in society, feels no great need to impress. He is comfortable with an understated beef burger topped with Kilmeaden, ketchup and mustard to accompany his cool patrician countenance.

I, on the other hand, am the worst kind of middle-class social climber who is unable to make a burger without getting all hung up on what the ingredients are saying about my (murky) lineage. Suffice to say, my burger is not understated. It is the Donatella Versace of hamburgers.

Still, I happen to think it is rather good and, for once, there's not much argument out of himself, though I do suspect a touch of condescension in his compliments. I'm pretty sure I've heard him humming Pulp's "I want to live like common people/I want to do whatever common people do", as I scramble to produce the ultimate posh patty.

Lamb Burger and Sweet potato wedges with beetroot topping

Serves 4.

For the sweet potato, you will need:

6-8 sweet potatoes

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons paprika

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the lamb burger, you will need:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tablespoons rosemary, finely chopped

1 tablespoon juniper berries, crushed

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon ground cumin

500g (17.5oz) ground lamb

75g (2.5oz) porridge oats

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

For the beetroot topping, you will need:

2 large cooked beetroot

100g (3.5oz) Greek yoghurt

1 teaspoon honey

10 mint leaves

10 walnuts

Freshly ground black pepper

To serve, you will need:

Pitta bread, toasted

Salad leaves

Blue cheese

Creme fraiche

Preheat the oven to 200 C, 400 F, Gas 6. Cut the sweet potatoes into wedge shapes and toss in the olive oil, the paprika, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Arrange on a baking tray, without overcrowding the tray, and bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until cooked through.

To make the burgers while the wedges are cooking, gently heat the olive oil in a pan and add the finely chopped red onion, the crushed garlic, the finely chopped rosemary, the crushed juniper berries, the smoked paprika and the ground cumin. Cook until the onions are nicely softened -- adding a dash of water if the mix is too dry, to give a paste-like consistency -- and set aside.

In another bowl, use your hands to blend the ground lamb with the porridge oats, the egg and the salt. Add the onion mixture, mix well and form into four good-size patties. Chill the burgers while you make the topping.

Put all the ingredients for the beetroot topping into a food processor and blend until smooth. The consistency should be roughly that of hummus.

The burgers can be pan-fried, grilled or, for the more foolhardy souls, barbecued (it is technically summer, I suppose) for about five minutes each side. Serve in toasted pittas with greens, some chalky blue cheese such as Cashel Blue, the beetroot topping, and the wedges on the side with a dollop of creme fraiche.

High-class heaven.


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