Kiss Me, I Made Irish Burgers! 

I recently experienced a personal revelation upon reading that St. Patrick’s Day has historically been referred to as the Feast of St. Patrick. I love any celebration that involves eating decadent food, having a few beers (though preferably not green in colour), and getting together with my favourite people!  As an Irish descendent, I’ve eaten my fair share of boiled dinners, every March 17th;  but no more!  This St. Partick’s Day, I’ll be ushering out the bitter winter and welcoming the warmer weather by feasting on my new Irish-inspired burgers that I know all of my friends, Irish or just honorary-Irish, will love, too!  This hearty burger pairs sharp irish cheddar and crispy, fresh cabbage with creamy herbed aioli and a dreamy homemade tomato jam.  Forget a pot of gold, every rainbow should lead to this succulent burger and a pint of your favourite beer! 

Irish Burger Patties - yields 3 large patties
1 lb ground beef - ground chuck is optimum for this recipe as the fat to lean ratio makes for a rich and tender burger.
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 large slices of good Irish cheddar cheese
1/4 small red cabbage, thinly julienned 
1/4 small green cabbage, thinly julienned
1 tbsp herbed aioli - recipe follows
1 tbsp caramelized beer onions - recipe follows
1 tbsp tomato jam - recipe follows
To prepare burger patties:
In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and gently fold together using your hands, until just combined.  Handling the meat as little as possible creates a juicier burger.  Divide mixture into three portions and form into patties, again, by hand.  Barbecue patties on medium-high heat   for 8 min. on each side, turning only once.  The internal temperature of the patties should be between 140 degrees Fahrenheit (medium) to 160 degrees Fahrenheit (done-done).  With 4 minutes left in the total cooking time, place one slice of cheese on each patty, allowing it to melt over the top.  For maximum juiciness, resist pressing down on the patties while they are cooking and allow them to rest for a few minutes once you take them off the grill.  This will give you the perfect amount of time to load up the heel of a toasted bun with a tablespoon of herbed aioli and a large three-finger pinch of each red and green cabbage.  Top this with your succulent, meaty burger, a tablespoon of caramelized beer onions, one tablespoon of sweet tomato jam and, finally, the crown of your warm and crusty bun.  As they say in Ireland, bain taitneamh as do bhéile; enjoy your meal! 

Easy Herbed Aioli 
1/3 C. mayonaise
1 small clove of garlic, crushed
1 tsp dried thyme, (1/2 tsp if using dried)
1 tsp rosemary, chopped to reduce size of leaves, (1/2 tsp if using dried) 
1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
To prepare aioli:
In a small bowl, combine and mix all ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble burger 

Caramelized Beer Onions
2 medium sized onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 bottle of your favourite Irish Ale
To prepare onions:
Heat oil and butter in a medium sized frying pan over medium low heat, until butter is melted.  Add sliced onions and cook, string occasionally until translucent.  Reduce heat to low, add salt to help draw out any further liquid from the onions and cook one minute.  Add beer and slowly cook until beer has reduced and absorbed into the now richly coloured onions. Set aside until ready to use. 

 Chunky, Fresh Tomato “Jam”
3 tbsp olive oil
2 C grape tomatoes, halved
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
1/3 C brown sugar
3 tsp thyme, (1 1/2 tsp if using dried) 
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp good balsamic vinegar
To prepare tomato jam:
Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan on medium heat. Once warm, add garlic and cook until translucent, but not browned.  Add halved tomatoes and cook until tomatoes begin to soften and liquid begins to release from tomatoes.  Add brown sugar, thyme, pepper, salt, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar, stir and let simmer on low heat until sugar is dissolved, liquid is slightly reduced and has thickened and tomatoes are soft.  Allow jam to cool before storing in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator until ready for use.  


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