Matthew and I went to Scotland for our honeymoon.
While he relished in the haggis & blood pudding, I was constrained by a vegetarian ideology, and was completely awash in a sea of Scottish stodge.
The stodge low-point was a veggie burger on the shores of Loch Ness. The patty was made with mashed potato pocked with a few peas & cubed carrots. It was breaded, then deep fried, and served sans anything else on a white bun.
It would have been funny if I wasn’t so hungry. I’m pretty sure I almost cried.
To celebrate the absolute lack of stodge in my diet now, here’s the burger I actually needed (Tardis delivery!) after a full day of newlywed activities in a faraway land:
The Loch Ness Burger
- 1lb ground meat (grass-fed beef, bison, lamb, turkey, chicken or combination)
- 4 portobello mushrooms, wiped clean
- Fat (coconut oil, bacon fat or red palm oil)
- Additions & toppings (see below)
Choose the additions you want. Mix the ground meat & additions with your hands, and form into 4 patties. Wash those hands. Fry the burgers in fat.
Remove to a plate in a warm oven and put the portobellos in the still hot pan, gills down. Add a good splash of water and cover for a few minutes. Remove the lid and deglaze the pan of all the browned meat bits under & around the portobellos. When softened, flip them on their backs and crown each with a burger.
Add your choice of toppings & serve.
- Any fresh or dried herbs or spices (Ground cardamom! Or celery seeds!)
- Hot peppers
- Onion, shallots or garlic
- Chopped organic citrus peel
- Minced fresh ginger
- Pineapple or other fruit
- Chopped parsley or cilantro
- Replace some ground meat with paleo-friendly (no filler) sausage filling
A few toppings…
- A fried egg
- Sliced avocado
- Shredded beets or carrots
- Leftover cooked kale, chard, collards or beet greens
- Sliced tomato
- Chiffonade of lettuce, spinach or other leafy greens
- Broccoli sprouts
- Paleo-friendly relish or mustard (check labels)
- Paleo-friendly basil or cilantro pesto (check labels, but in truth your pesto will probably be homemade)
- Leftover braised fennel or bell peppers
Google a cuisine you love, or pick a country or a culture at random & check out what combinations of herbs, spices & ingredients make it distinct. Use those combinations as a guide, some as additions to your patty & some as toppings on your burger. Then give it a fancy name, such as:
- Provençal burger add minced garlic, a heaping spoon of Herbs de Provence, and a few chopped cherries to your meat mixture. Top burger with olive tapenade.
- Hungarian burger add paprika, caraway, and fresh or dried dill to your meat mixture. Top burger with caramelized onions and horseradish.
- My hippie childhood burger add brewer’s yeast and sunflower seeds to your meat mixture. Top burger with sprouts. I’m really, really kidding. Don’t make this burger. I had a hippie childhood and I find that sometimes hippie jokes are therapeutic. Brewer’s yeast & most sprouts are not paleo anyway.
- Fusion burger combine ingredients from different cultures in unorthodox ways for fusion jubilation.
- Dot’s burger at Dot’s truck stop outside Nanaimo in the 1970’s, the burgers were all named after truckers, and when I was little I used to think the height of fame would be to have a Dot’s burger named after me. In keeping with the fusion burger theme, keep making weird burgers until you find your signature burger. Name it after yourself.
Double the recipe to have ready-to-go protein for lunches and snacks. Add a gigantic container of crudités (that’s the fancy word for veg cut in bite-sized pieces) for a workday lunch.
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