Angus beef, blue cheese, pear, and crispy pancetta burgers
We all know blue cheese and pears go well together, but add that to a beef burger . . . SO GOOD! I made my own brioche buns for this recipe first (you can find that recipe HERE), but feel free to use a store-bought version for a faster alternative. For the ‘BBQ’ sauce layer that you see on the bottom bun, I used ‘Jenny’s Kitchen XHot tamarind chutney’. I tried this on a food trip to Auckland and it has since become a fridge staple.
Time: (without making brioche) 15 minutes preparation | 30 minutes to chill | 30 minutes cooking
For the burgers
800g (1.8 lbs) Angus beef mince
50g (2oz) blue cheese (I used Castello)
2 tablespoons horseradish cream (or 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard)
1 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 free-range egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 strips pancetta or free-range streaky bacon
Blue cheese mayo
½ cup mayo
1 small garlic clove, crushed
100g (4oz) blue cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 ripe but firm pears
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 brioche buns
Your favourite store-bought BBQ sauce or chutney
A green salad, slaw, fries or wedges
If you are making brioche buns yourself, make these first. Preheat the oven to low to keep the burger patties warm later on.
To make the burgers, add the beef to a mixing bowl with the blue cheese. Break the cheese up with a fork, then add the horseradish crème (or mustard), breadcrumbs, egg, a generous pinch of salt and pepper, and mix well into the beef. Take a tray and line it with baking paper. Wet hands slightly and shape into 6 even-sized balls. Press the burger patties flat so they are about 2cm (½") in depth. Cover and place in the fridge to chill
for 30 minutes. This will help them to firm up so they don’t break while cooking.
Before you cook the beef burgers, cook the pancetta (or bacon) first. This will flavour the oil to cook the burger patties in. Take a large skillet or frying pan and heat over a medium/high heat. When hot, add the oil and cook the pancetta in batches until crispy. Remove and set aside until
you assemble the burgers later.
To cook the burger patties, turn the heat down to medium (if the temperature is too high they will cook on the outside, but will be raw on the inside) and cook in two batches so you do not overcrowd the pan. Cook for 6-10 minutes on each side or until cooked to your liking, cutting the centre open to check if you need. Place the cooked patties in the preheated oven while you repeat. You can also add the brioche buns and the pancetta to the oven to be warmed in the final 5 minutes if you like.
While the burger patties are cooking make the mayo and pear slaw. For the mayo, combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl and mash
well with a fork to incorporate the blue cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and check to see if you need a little more lemon juice. Set aside. For the pear slaw, slice the cheeks of the pears thinly. I use a mandolin so it is quick and easy. Combine in a bowl with the chives, lemon
juice and a pinch of salt. Toss gently so the lemon juice coats the pear to stop it going brown.
To assemble, split the buns and spread the chutney or BBQ sauce on the bottom. Top with the beef patty, some of the pear, two slices of pancetta per burger, topped with the blue cheese mayo and the top bun. Serve with the sides of your choice.