Panfried Burgers Stuffed with Blue Cheese
With pungent blue cheese both inside and on top, these decadent burgers will satisfy even die-hard cheese fans. If you don’t love blue cheese, substitute any semisoft cheese, such as Taleggio or Brie. If you have a meat grinder, by all means grind the beef yourself for the best results. Alternatively, you can ask your butcher to grind it for you.
For the garlic croûtes:
- 8 thick slices coarse country bread
- 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, halved crosswise
1 1/2 lb. (750 g) ground beef chuck (20 percent fat)
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 lb. (125 g) very cold blue cheese, cut into 4 thin slabs, plus crumbled cheese for serving (optional)
- Olive oil for brushing
- Sliced red onion and sliced tomato for serving (optional)
- Mayonnaise, ketchup or mustard for serving (optional)
To make the garlic croûtes, preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Brush the bread slices on both sides with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and place on a baking sheet. Bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Rub the top side of each slice with the cut side of a garlic clove.
In a bowl, combine the ground chuck, the garlic powder and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Using a fork, stir together, keeping the mixture crumbly rather than compressed. With a light hand, form 8 loosely packed patties, then gently flatten each patty to about 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick and about 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter. Center a slab of blue cheese on each of 4 patties. Top with the remaining patties and press down with your palm until each double patty is about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Press the edges together gently to seal in the cheese. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Heat a cast-iron fry pan over high heat until it is very hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-high, brush the tops of the burgers with olive oil and season generously with salt. Place the burgers, oiled side down, in the pan and cook, without moving them, for 3 minutes. Brush the tops of the burgers with oil, season generously with salt, and turn and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into a burger registers 140° to 145°F (60° to 63°C) for medium, 5 to 7 minutes more, or to your desired doneness. Arrange the burgers on plates with the croûtes, and set out the additional crumbled blue cheese, sliced onion and tomato, and the mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard for topping the burgers. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams Sonoma The Cook & the Butcher (Weldon Owen, 2011)