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~ Pan-Seared French-Onion Burgers with Dijonnaise ~

IMG_1594Easy and decadent?  Yes, decadent.  That's how I describe these cheeseburgers.  Trust me.  All the steps are truly easy -- very, very easy.  That said, it will take a bit of time, not energy, to properly caramelize the onions, about 40 minutes, but, on average, that's how long it takes onions to properly caramelize on the stovetop, and, after all, one can't serve French onion anything without properly caramelized onions -- quite frankly, they're the star of the French onion show. The words I use to describe caramelizing onions on the stovetop:  a super-easy babysitting job.  

IMG_1628As for the contents of envelope of the store-bought French onion soup mix that I (along with many others) fold into the meat mixture, don't leap into the food-snob mindset over the addition this ingredient because, this dry mix really takes the flavor of the burger meat over-the-top, and, the small packet of granulated beef bouillon that I throw in too beefs up the flavor even more.  As for the Gruyère (groo-YAIR) cheese, it's a bit of a splurge price wise, but, as far as cow's milk Swiss cheeses go, this one, with its slightly-nutty flavor, is their premiere melting cheese.  In the case of French onion burgers, I've determined that bigger is better, so, it's 6-ouncers that I make, and, my roll of choice is made of enriched Brioche -- although an onion roll works nicely too.  As for the Dijonnaise, a combination of Dijon mustard, mayonnaise and spices:  it completes this burger-eating experience in true French style.

French onion burgers -- perfect for any Summer get-together:

IMG_1512For the French onion burgers:

1 1/2  pounds 90/10 ground beef

1  envelope French onion soup

1  packet granulated beef bouillon

2  cups shredded Gruyère cheese

3/4  cup Dijonnaise dressing*

1 very large sweet onion*

1 1/2-2  cups baby arugula leaves

4  brioche hamburger buns, toasted or untoasted, your choice

2  tablespoons salted butter + 2  tablespoons olive oil, for pan-searing 'burgers

* Prepare the Dijonnaise, and, slice and caramelize the onion as directed in the recipe below.

IMG_1514 IMG_1514 IMG_1514~ Step 1. In a medium bowl, place the ground beef, along with the contents from the envelope of onion soup mix and the contents from the packet of granulated beef bouillon.  Using your hands, thoroughly incorporate the dry soup mix and the bouillon into the meat.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for about 1 hour or refrigerate for several hours (or overnight), to give the flavors time to marry.  Using a hand-held box grater, shred the cheese.  Cover and refrigerate cheese until assembly time.

IMG_1494For the Dijonnaise:

6  tablespoons high-quality mayonnaise

3  tablespoons Grey Poupon Dijon mustard

1  generous teaspoon dehydrated minced garlic

1  generous teaspoon dehydrated minced onion

1/2  teaspoon coarse-grind black pepper

IMG_1501 IMG_1501 IMG_1501~ Step 1.  Measure and place all ingredients in a 1-cup-size food-storage container.  Stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours prior to serving time to allow flavors to marry.  Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

6a0120a8551282970b022ad3cf4c1e200bFor the caramelized onions:

1 pound (after peeling) 1/8"-1/4"-thick-sliced half-moon-shaped sweet onion  

2  tablespoons salted butter

2  tablespoons olive oil

1  teaspoon granulated sugar 

1/2  teaspoon sea salt

2-4  tablespoons sweet white wine or sherry, for deglazing pan (water may be substituted)

IMG_7374 IMG_7374 IMG_7374 IMG_7388 IMG_7388 IMG_7388 IMG_7388~Step 1.  Peel and slice onions.  Over low heat, in a 12" skillet, melt butter into olive oil.  Add onions to skillet.  Season with sugar and salt.  Using a slotted spoon or spatula, stir until the onions are coated in oil/butter.  

IMG_7394 2 IMG_7394 2 IMG_7394 2 IMG_7394 2 IMG_7401 IMG_7401 IMG_7401 ~Step 2.  Increase heat to medium-high.  Continue to slowly cook, stirring occasionally.  After 10 minutes, onions will have lost a lot of volume and will be limp and steamed through.  There won't be any browning just yet. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, another 10 minutes. It's now that you are going to start to see what I refer to as light browning.  Continue to cook, stirring more frequently, another 10 minutes. Now the onions are nicely-browned and truly beginning to caramelize.  Keep going.

IMG_7417Note:  From this point on, do not leave the stove.  The onions will require almost constant stirring, and, they can and will go from browned to burned quickly.  My onions cooked for another 5 minutes today, with me stirring constantly, before I added the wine and quickly (30-45 seconds) deglazed the pan, or, for a total of 35 minutes.  Deglazing the pan is an important step that takes caramelized onions from ordinary to extraordinary, so, don't skip it.  Transfer  the caramelized onions to a paper-towel-lined plate and set aside.

Ready, set, go -- it's time to make French onion cheeseburgers:

IMG_1528 IMG_1528 IMG_1528~ Step 1.  Divide the meat mixture into four equal parts (6 ounces each). Using your hands and fingertips, form, pat and press each part into a 4 1/2"-round disc about 3/4"-thick.  I use a kitchen scale to be sure all four weigh the same.  Common sense says:  Equal weight + even size and thickness = even cooking.

IMG_1540 IMG_1540 IMG_1540 IMG_1548 IMG_1548 IMG_1548 IMG_1548~Step 2.  In the same 12" skillet used to caramelize the onions, melt the 2 tablespoons salted butter into the olive oil over low heat.  Place the burger patties in the skillet.  Increase heat to medium- medium-high and sauté until lightly-golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side, turning only once.

IMG_1572 IMG_1572~ Step 2.  Turn heat under burgers to low. Heap 1/2 cup shredded Gruyère atop each patty and place a lid on the skillet.  Wait a few seconds, 30-45-60, until cheese melts.  Remove burgers from skillet and assemble as directed in next step.

IMG_1562 IMG_1562 IMG_1562 IMG_1578 IMG_1578~Step 3.  Slather a toasted or untoasted Brioche roll (I highly recommend lightly-toasting the roll) on bottom half with some of the Dijonnaise.  Place a handful of baby arugula leaves atop the tangy dressing.  Place a cheeseburger atop the arugula, followed by a generous mound of caramelized onions.  Put the top on and serve immediately.

Take a bite, a big bite -- you won't stop 'till it's gone.  You won't.

IMG_1609Pan-Seared French-Onion Burgers with Dijonnaise:  Recipe yields 4 large cheeseburgers.

Special Equipment List:  1-cup food-storage container w/tight-fitting lid; spoon; plastic wrap; hand-held box grater; plastic wrap; cutting board; chef's knife; 12" nonstick skillet w/lid; large slotted spoon or spatula; paper towels; kitchen scale (optional)

IMG_1490Cook's Note: Rain or shine, Winter or Summer -- I make these potato nuggets often (although, sometimes, I cut them into French fries instead of bite-sized nuggets), and, experience has taught two things:  I can never make enough, and, no one cares that an envelope of store-bought onion soup mix is used. You gotta try these ~ Oven-Roasted French-Onion Gold-Potato Nuggets ~.  Amongst other things, they're the perfect side-dish to today's French onion burgers.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2021)


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