Quick cooking: homemade burgers and dips
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Quick cooking: homemade burgers and dips

We all spend less time in the kitchen during the hot summer months. When we have family occasions, though, it is usually easier to stay in and dine at home. Today’s recipes will help with preparing some quick, and even perhaps last minute, meals as most of the ingredients are stocked in our cupboards and freezers. They are also all easy-to-find ingredients available at any corner shop.

Making burgers from scratch allows you to put exactly what you like in them. Lean meat that is still juicy and moist after it is cooked is ideal, and the best way to achieve this is to ask your butcher to help you with your choice. You can also opt for the less traditional burgers and use ground rabbit, or veal.

Burgers are associated with food that is not healthy, but this is not necessarily so – especially when they are homemade. Here, additional ingredients are used purely for flavour, rather than for bulk.

To avoid sogginess toast the bun and place the lettuce under the burger. Use a serrated knife to cut tomatoes; drain out all juices and seeds.

For burgers you will need:

1 tbsp vegetable oil, for cooking
Condiments and extras: mustard, ketchup, red onions, fried eggs, picked cucumbers, coleslaw, mayonnaise, bacon, lettuce, cucumber, cheddar, blue cheese

Beef burgers
1 small onion, finely chopped
400g minced beef
2 sprigs parsley, finely chopped
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 egg
3 galletti (water biscuits), crushed
3 burger buns

Pork burgers
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp fresh chilli, deseeded and chopped
400g pork mince
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 egg
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Maltese sausage burgers
200g Maltese sausage meat
200g lean ground pork
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 hard whitecheeselet, grated
1 egg
4 galletti

Chicken burgers
1 egg
1 small onion, grated
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp dry breadcrumbs
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
400g lean ground chicken
1 tbsp tahini

In a pan, sauté the onion until soft. Remove, and place on kitchen towel to absorb oil. Finely crush the galletti in a food processor.

Put all ingredients in a large bowl and mix. Divide the mixture into four. Wet your hands and form patties about 2cm thick.

You can cook the burgers in the oven at 180˚C for 20 minutes, turning them once after 10 minutes. You can also cook them the traditional way, on a BBQ.

I chose to use a griddle pan. Wipe the pan with vegetable oil using a kitchen towel and heat up the pan to maximum heat.

When using a pan, the burgers usually take 3 minutes each side to cook. Make sure that pork and chicken are cooked through.

Prepare the buns by halving and toasting them. Slide your cooked burger onto your buns and stack up the extras according to your preference.

Dips

These are some very quick dips that are ideal for quick summer entertaining. Simply place all the ingredients in a bowl and use a hand blender to mix to a smooth consistency. Ideally, leave in the fridge for an hour before serving.

Guacamole dip
1 avocado, mashed
1 tbsp lemon juice
Small clove garlic
¼ tsp chilli flakes
Salt
1 tbsp plain yoghurt

Ricotta and smoked paprika dip
150g ricotta, mashed
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp olive oil

Olive dip
200 g ricotta, mashed
75 g olives of your choice, finely chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp fresh parsley
1 tbsp olive oil
Freshly ground pepper

Creamy herb dip
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil or mint
100g cream cheese
2 tbsp plain yoghurt

Curried mayonnaise dip
100g mayonnaise
½ tablespoon curry powder
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp yoghurt
1 tbsp chopped sultanas

Cheese and chutney dip
50g Pecorino
100 g cream cheese
1 tsp chutney
¼ onion finely chopped

Cucumber and yoghurt dip
½ cucumber, grated
Zest of ½ lemon
200g plain yoghurt
Fresh ground pepper

Chickpea dip
1 can chickpeas, drained and mashed
4 tbsp plain yoghurt
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice

You can watch Lea cook on TVM2 and follow her blog www.goodfoodeveryday.wordpress.com. More of her recipes can be found on www.timesofmalta.com.

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