Oklahoma Onion Burgers – The Sustainable Way

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There is a restaurant in Oklahoma City that opened up a few years ago and has taken off. The restaurant’s mainstay is their famous onion burger. The burgers are monstrous and super delicious. However, as a part of our goal to eat as sustainably as possible, we looked further into how the burgers are actually made and where the ingredients come from. While the restaurant boasts using a local bakery for their buns, their beef is shipped in on a truck from out of state – from a factory farm where the cows are fed a GMO-corn diet. Their cheese is Land o’ Lakes – not a local or sustainable company, and their ice cream is from Blue Bell – although the company has a production facility in Oklahoma (somewhere), they are not a sustainable company. Sadly, we will no longer be able to support this local business. We love their food, and we even reached out to the restaurant in the hope of talking to them about making changes to use all local and sustainable ingredients. They never responded.

On that note, we decided to create our own delicious onion burgers. We used all organic ingredients, and bought every ingredient we could from our local farmers market. Avocados don’t grow here, and thus far we haven’t found a local bakery that makes gluten free hamburger buns. This time, our beef wasn’t raised in Oklahoma, but it is 100% organic and 100% grass-fed beef. (It was on sale at work for 50% off… who can pass up that deal?)

Now, for the main event.

Recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon organic stoneground mustard
  • 1 organic garlic clove, minced
  • the zest of one organic lemon
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1 local pasteur-raised egg
  • 10 ounces organic grass-fed ground beef
  • 4 tablespoons bacon grease or oil, divided
  • 1 organic sweet yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced (from M’s mom’s garden)
  • 4 strips of organic bacon
  • 1 organic rainbow chard leaf (you could use lettuce if you prefer)
  • 1 organic tomato, sliced
  • 1 organic avocado, sliced
  • cheese (any kind will do, and you can make your burgers as cheesy as you want)
  • condiments (we used organic Portland ketchup and organic horseradish mustard)
  • 2 hamburger buns (we used Udi’s wholegrain hamburger buns, GF of course)

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Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 400*F/204*C. Lay your bacon on a sheet pan or cookie sheet and place in the oven to cook for 15-20 minutes. The cooking time depends on how thick your bacon is and how crispy you like it. Check it at the 15 minute mark and go from there. When bacon is finished, remove from sheet pan and set aside for burger construction. (Whatever you do, don’t forget about the bacon and burn the bottom halves to a crisp. We didn’t, but we heard from a friend that it’s a bummer when you do.)

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2. While the bacon is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of bacon grease or oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add in your sliced onions and toss or stir to coat evenly. Throw in a little salt to help the onions sweat it out. Continue cooking over medium heat, tossing or stirring occasionally, until edges start to caramelize. When the onions have started to break down, add in your jalapeños. Let this mixture cook until onions have turned brown and caramelized completely. This should take about 10-15 minutes. Be patient, it’s totally worth the wait.

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3. Now while the onions are doing their thing, it’s time to prepare your burgers. Grab a large bowl and combine your stoneground mustard, garlic, lemon zest, black pepper, salt, smoked paprika, cumin, dill weed, egg, and ground beef. It’s okay to get your hands all up in there. We need all those lovely flavors to become one with each other. Separate the mix into two 5 ounce portions and form each one into a ball. If your onions still have a ways to go, stick the burgers back in the fridge to chill out.

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4. When your onions are well on their way to onion burger town, start heating 2 tablespoons of bacon grease or oil in an oven safe sauté pan over medium heat. Take your burger mix out of the fridge and shape each ball into a flattened circle. Sprinkle the tops with salt and pepper and place seasoned side down in your pan, repeat with salt and pepper on the unseasoned side. After about 3 minutes the burgers should be ready to flip. Carefully flip each burger over and cover, or smother, the top with your favorite cheese. Move the pan from the stovetop to the oven. Note: The oven does not need to be on at this point. The residual heat from cooking your bacon works perfectly to help melt the cheese, but won’t over cook your burgers. Win-win.

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5. Lightly toast your buns (a toaster oven works great for this) and smear your chosen condiments on the tops and bottoms. Tear your chard leaf in half, or fourths if it’s as big as ours are, and place those on the bottom bun. Place your tomato slice(s) on top of the chard and your burger on top of the tomato. Now grab your onions and jalapeños and pile those on that burger. Add your avocado slices and bacon to the top bun and, ever so gently, stack that top bun up on it’s burger throne. Grab some napkins, take a deep breath, and prepare for the inevitable food coma.

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Unhinge your jaw and take a bite out of these incredible, locally inspired, organically and locally grown, sustainable onion burgers. Doesn’t that taste good?

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Bisous!

L&M

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