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Author Notes: This is not like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole; basil and olive oil do belong in the center of your hamburger. This burger is the result of a new kitchen toy I got recently: an herb cube freezing tray, for preserving early summer herbs for (mostly) fall foods. I cannot wait that long to try unfreezing the herb cubes, so I’ve put some in my hamburgers. Haven't tried a tarragon burger yet. (I also haven't frozen these hamburgers to see how they stand up to being frozen).
I have been told that I do not make burgers with the “right” kind of beef, usually I use 97% lean ground beef or turkey. These kinds of burgers (and possibly bison and lamb) may benefit from some added fats in the form of crumbled cheese inside, a fried egg white pattiy, peanut butter, etc, to give them some taste and juiciness. —purduetina
Makes: 4 patties
Frozen Herb Cubes
tablespoons finely chopped basil (blanching is optional)
tablespoons olive oil or butter
herb freezing tray with lid, or ice cube tray with cells that hold about 4-5 teaspoons
- (Depending on the size of your ice cube tray (or specially designed herb freezing tray-with a lid!) you may want to make smaller cubes).
- Spoon 1 tablespoon chopped basil and 1.5 tablespoon olive oil into each cell and freeze over night, with the lid on (if you've got a lid). This will not completely fill the cube (or it shouldn't, so that it won't spill while moving into the freezer). Pop cubes out of tray and keep frozen in the freezer. Use within 6 months.
pound 97% lean ground beef OR turkey (yes, this is not the "right" meat for burgers! that's why we are putting olive oil inside them!
adjustable burger press for 1/4 and 1/2 pound burgers
slightly thawed frozen basil cubes
- Let the herb cubes thaw a little, but not melt, cutting each cube into about two pieces, depending on the dimensions of your cube. They should be thin (cut into about 1/4" thickness) to avoid a giant bulge in the burger.
- Press 1/8pound of meat into burger press, add cut up herb cube, then press second 1/8pound of meat in burger press. If using a 1/4pound press, it may not close at this point. Shape by hand to make sure the burger doesn't fall apart once on the grill (I find that turkey burgers hold up better than beef when done this way).
- Grill on medium heat, flipping ONE time only for about ten minutes, or to desired doneness.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe for Barbecued Meat