I’ll be honest – making it through a long Michigan winter can be tough. Even when we have a mild winter as far as snow and brutally cold temperatures, there never seems to be much sunshine. It’s gray day after gray day, and it definitely gets me down sometimes.
But in the last few years, I’ve decided to STOP letting winter get the best of me. With the help of some extra Vitamin D, I’ve decided to show winter who’s boss. Staying inside under a blanket, with the oven on all winter? I don’t need to do that. Stop bullying me, Mother Nature!
In the spirit of bravery,I decided to brave the cold and grill a cheeseburger this month. I pulled on my boots and headed outside. You already know that there’s few things in life I love as much as a good cheese board, so crafting a cheese board in burger form seemed worth braving the cold for.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Ground beef – I like ground round for burgers, as the ratio of lean meat to fat makes for a really tender burger without being too greasy.
- Brie cheese – Brie is a soft and creamy French-style cheese. It’s a staple for me on most cheese boards, and it melts like a dream on a burger.
- Fig preserves – I always have some sort of fruit preserve or jam on my cheese boards, and using fig preserves as the “condiment” for this burger added a nice touch of sweetness to balance all of the savory flavors.
- Pickled red onions – Because every burger needs something pickled, and pickled onions are one of my very favorite pickled things.
- Spinach – Sure, you don’t see spinach on many (errr…any) cheese boards, but I like my burgers to have a little fresh greenery action. This one’s optional, guys.
- Good sturdy buns – Don’t skimp and use flimsy little buns here. Go to a store with a good bakery department and get nice rolls that’ll hold up to these big flavors.
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 5 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus additional for burgers
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1-1/2 pounds ground round beef
- Ground black pepper
- 8 ounces brie cheese, sliced
- 4 sturdy hamburger buns, like kaiser rolls
- 1 cup packed baby spinach
- 1/3 cup fig preserves
- In medium saucepot, heat vinegar, water, sugar and salt to boiling over medium heat. Boil 1 minute or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; stir in onions. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes, or transfer to a covered container and refrigerate up to 5 days. Drain onions just before serving.
- Meanwhile, preheat grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. Form beef into four patties, being careful not to overwork the meat. Season patties with salt and pepper.
- Place burgers on hot grill rack. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 135 degrees F for medium rare doneness, turning once. During last two minutes of cooking, top burgers with cheese.
- Serve burgers on buns, topped with spinach, preserves and pickled onions.