Ham-Burr-ger Helper

09 Mar

The role of today’s guest food blogger is played by Connie’s husband, Jamie.

Shortly after Connie launched A Ruby Reduction, I briefly entertained the thought of creating a companion blog focused entirely on the hamburger.

It seemed like a splendid idea at first … until I began to realize that in order to maintain such a site, I’d have to eat an (almost) ungodly number of burgers (and buns) on a regular basis.

Hey, I love hamburgers, but a man’s got his limits.

So, rather than subject myself to the perpetual “meat sweats”, I offered to submit the occasional post on hamburgers to A Ruby Reduction. From a health (and creative) perspective, it’s probably a more reasonable rate.

Anyway, today’s entry features two distinct burger creations, each inspired by Bill Burr, stand-up comedian and host of the weekly Monday Morning Podcast. (Bill Burr’s acerbic, at times self-deprecating brand of comedy is almost certainly NSFW; however, his Monday Morning Podcasts are often the highlight of our six-hour car rides to and from Ottawa)

The first is the William F. BURRger (or Bill BURRger, for short), a lamb and beef burger topped with a fried shredded potato cake, and a red wine and dark chocolate reduction. The flavour of the caramelized onions marries well with the lamb, and the red wine and chocolate reduction. If I have one recommendation, it would be to add either a pinch of cayenne or chilli pepper to the reduction; I believe the burger would benefit from the additional heat.

Serve with either a glass of red wine, or a stout.

The second is the Pickled Ginger (a.k.a. the G.F.Y.S.), a blend of ground sausage and beef, topped with, you guessed it, pickled ginger slices. The sweetness of the pickled ginger is the perfect complement to the licorice flavour of the anise in the sausage. Rounding everything out is a fried egg, which brings a definite richness to the burger.

Serve with either a lighter beer (a blonde or an IPA), or perhaps a cider.

Of course, both burgers benefited from resting on the homemade pretzel buns that Connie baked. You could serve me a gravel sandwich on these buns and I’d be satisfied – and would probably ask for more. Enjoy!

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Adapted from:

Fried shredded potato cakes:
Lamb burgers:
Pickled ginger: Gordon Ramsay’s Maze


Fried shredded potato cake:

  • 1-2 medium-sized baking potatoes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter


  1. Place the potatoes in a pot of boiling water and cook until the potatoes soften, approximately 10 minutes.
  2. Drain the potatoes and let cool. Once they are cool enough to handle, peel and cover the potatoes and refrigerate them for about one hour.
  3. Prior to frying, grate the potatoes into long strips using the tear-shaped grates. Toss lightly with salt.
  4. In a sloped-skillet, heat the oil and butter over moderate heat until a drop of water on the oil evaporates instantly. At that point, drop the potatoes into the skillet, spreading them evenly with a spatula.
  5. Fry the potato cakes uncovered for 8-10 minutes, using the spatula to lift the potatoes to check their colour.
  6. Once the underside of the potato cakes are sufficiently browned (without burning), place a flat plate upside down over the skillet.
  7. *Gripping the skillet and plate tightly together, invert them quickly, then carefully slide the potato cake, browned side up, back into the skillet.
  8. Continue frying the potato cakes for another 6-8 minutes or until the underside of the cakes are evenly browned and the edges are crisp.

*NOTE: for safety purposes, I recommend lifting the potato cakes out of the skillet with the spatula, placing the plate over the spatula, and inverting the cakes onto the plate. At that point, either slide the cakes off the plate back into the pan, or use the spatula.


Pickled ginger:

  • 2 oz fresh gingerroot
  • ½ cup superfine sugar
  • 4 Tbsp water
  • 4 Tbsp red wine vinegar


  1. Bring a pan of water to a boil and place a bowl of iced water nearby.
  2. Peel and thinly slice the ginger using a mandolin or swivel vegetable peeler
  3. Blanch the sliced ginger in the boiling water for five seconds, then using a slotted spoon, immediately place in the iced water.
  4. Repeat this process once more, and then drain well.
  5. Mix the sugar, water, and red wine vinegar in a pan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
  6. Bring mixture to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer.
  7. Add the ginger slices and simmer for 30 minutes until they are tender, but still retain a slight crunch.


Lamb and beef burgers/Sausage and beef burgers:

  • ½ lb of ground lamb
  • ½ lb of ground sausage
  • 1 lb of ground beef
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large (12-inch) skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering.
  2. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until soft and caramelized, adding water to the pan if necessary to prevent burning.
  3. Add the vinegar, rosemary, sugar, and 1 tsp of mustard and continue cooking for a few more minutes to blend the flavours. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Combine ½ lb of ground beef and ½ lb of lamb/sausage together in one large bowl, mixing in the garlic with ¾ tsp of salt and ¼ tsp of pepper. For the lamb and beef burgers, instead of topping them with the caramelized onions, I added them to the mixture.
  5. Using your hands, form equal-sized patties.
  6. Being in an apartment without access to a barbecue, I cooked the patties on a flat top grill at a temperature of 350F for 12-14 minutes, flipping half way.
  7. For the sausage and beef burger, I topped it with an egg fried to over-easy on the griddle.


Red wine and dark chocolate reduction (for the lamb burger)

  • 375mL of red wine
  • 1 inch square of dark chocolate


  1. In a saucepan, bring the red wine to a boil, and then reduce to a low heat and let simmer until the red wine reduces by half.
  2. Once the red wine reaches the desired consistency, finish by adding the square of dark chocolate and stirring until completely blended. Add more red wine if the sauce becomes too thick.
  3. To give the sauce a slight kick, try adding a pinch of cayenne, some chilli powder, or red pepper flakes.

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3 responses to “Ham-Burr-ger Helper

  1. strawberryginger

    March 10, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Well done!! Looks great!


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