[Recipe 2] MINI BURGERS with HIDDEN VEGGIES
This week Baked scotch eggs morph into tiny Mini burgers. I’ve been intrigued by Scotch eggs for quite some time. They feature on my ‘kooky UK meals to try in the future’ list (along with Toad in the Hole, Spotted Dick and Bubble and Squeak). As we’re coming up to Easter, I figured it was the perfect time to give Scotch eggs a burl and I have to say, we are now hooked! The kids loved them, and the husband and I were very pleasantly surprised too, especially when we dunked them in home-made tomato chutney. Scotch eggs are traditionally coated in sausage mince, but half beef/half pork has more flavour, more iron and less fat. I also threw in some Dijon mustard and onion for extra bite. They’re usually deep-fried too, but I just can’t bring myself to deep-fry a ball of egg and minced meat (easier to just rip my arteries out). Baking them works surprisingly well, and… if you make double the beef/pork mixture for the Baked Scotch Eggs you can make some gorgeous little Mini burgers with hidden veggies later. Look for the ♦ orange diamonds within the recipe, for instructions on how much beef/pork mixture to reserve for the Mini burgers.
My beautiful friend, and Japanese culture junkie, Janet, introduced me to the tiny burger snacks at the ubiquitous Breadtop, an Asian bread/pastry chain popping up all over Australia. The bun itself is like a cross between a brioche and a puff of air, and it holds a tiny cold hamburger patty, a smear of tomato sauce, a miniscule slice of cheese and a tiny leaf of lettuce. That’s it! Gone in two mouthfuls, but sooo delicious. You can so easily make them yourself for the kids (or your own) lunchboxes. Freeze the Mini burgers and the little buns (you can buy the buns in a bag of eight at Breadtop, or use very soft dinner rolls), defrost them overnight, and assemble in the morning. Two per child should suffice. Such a lovely change from boring sandwiches, and so easy to make! They’re also perfect for kid’s birthdays, and adult parties (add a teaspoon of fennel seeds with the onion to ramp up the flavour).
[Recipe 1] Baked scotch eggs
Ingredients (serves 4 for 2 meals):
6 eggs (you’ll need 8 eggs* total)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 brown onion, very finely chopped
1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
500g (1 lb) minced (ground) beef
500g (1 lb) minced (ground) pork
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or chopped fresh thyme)
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
½ cup (70g) fresh breadcrumbs
*2 eggs extra, beaten: 1 for the meat mixture, 1 for dipping/coating
¼ cup plain (all-purpose) flour, for coating
½ cup (35g) dry breadcrumbs extra, for coating
Olive oil spray
Easy spiced tomato chutney (or store-bought chutney), to serve
Preheat oven to 200°C (390ºF).
Place 6 eggs in a saucepan (so that they fit snugly). Pour enough water over the eggs to cover. Pop the lid on and bring to a boil. Remove saucepan from the heat, and allow it to sit, covered, for 15 minutes. Carefully transfer the eggs, with a slotted spoon or tongs, from the saucepan to a large bowl of ice cold water. Drain, and re-fill the bowl with more ice-cold water. Repeat this step one more time (all this crazy cooling is to prevent those nasty grey rings forming on the eggs). Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (and up to 2 days) before peeling.
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook the onion for 4–5 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper and allow to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, mix together the cooked onion, mustard, minced beef, minced pork, thyme, 1 beaten egg, salt, pepper and ½ cup breadcrumbs. Mash it together well with your hands.
♦ Reserve half the beef/pork mixture (about 2 cups or 500g/1 lb) for the mini burgers.
Divide the remainder of the beef/pork mixture into 6 even portions, patting each piece into a flat shape, the size of your palm.
Coat each of the peeled, hard-boiled eggs in flour. Wrap each of the 6 eggs evenly in a portion of beef/pork mixture, making sure they are smooth and completely covered.
Dip each mince-coated egg into the extra beaten egg, then roll them gently in breadcrumbs until they’re well-coated. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
When ready to bake, spray each Scotch egg liberally with olive oil. Place on a baking paper-lined tray and bake for 25-30 minutes until crispy, golden and cooked through. Turn them once, after fifteen minutes, and give them another light spray of oil.
Serve warm or at room temperature with Easy spiced tomato chutney and a green salad or Green beans and toasted pine-nuts (pictured).
- Scotch eggs are fab for picnics, especially when nestled in a basket lined with red gingham.
[Recipe 2] Mini burgers with hidden veggies
Ingredients (serves 4, makes 12 little patties):
1 medium carrot, grated on fine zester holes
1 small zucchini (courgette), grated, chopped, liquid squeezed out with your hands
2 tablespoons oat bran (or wheatgerm)
♦ 2 cups (about 500g/1 lb) reserved beef/pork mixture
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Mini buns (or dinner rolls)
Butter or baby cos (romaine) lettuce
Put carrot, zucchini and oat bran into a large bowl.
♦ Add reserved beef/pork mixture.
Season. Mix and mash it all together well with your hands. Shape mixture into twelve tiny patties, about 5 cm (2-inch) diameter. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Heat extra oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry mini burgers until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes each side. Drain on kitchen paper.
Serve mini burgers in little buns with lettuce, sliced cheese and tomato sauce.
- Cooked patties, and little buns, can be frozen with baking paper between the layers, for up to 3 months. Defrost as required, for lunchboxes.
- Patties can also be frozen uncooked, for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge.
- As these patties are tiny, it’s very important to ensure the onion, carrot and zucchini are chopped and/or grated into very small pieces or your burgers will fall apart when cooked. The tiny zester holes on your grater are perfect for carrot. I grate zucchini on the normal grater holes though as it gets too watery. Give the mound of grated zucchini a good extra chop afterwards to make the pieces smaller.
- You can use this mixture to make four large patties instead of mini burgers. Pop them in the freezer for a quick mid-week dinner.