A gourmet burger takes time, and this one’s been several weeks in the planning

Tony Staples
Tony Staples

Creating a gourmet burger takes time. Tony Staples, executive head chef of the Arora Hotel, based in the heart of Crawley, reveals his favourite recipe that has been several weeks in the planning.

“Before I put any new dish onto the menu, it is tweaked and taste-tested by the team here in the Arora kitchens until we all agree on the best version. Even something that sounds as simple as a burger goes through the same rigorous process.

crawley observer march 6

crawley observer march 6

I am about to put a gourmet lamb burger on the menu, but first I tried the recipe out with mince sourced from two different local suppliers. To each batch of mince I added the same ingredients, but it was amazing how different the burgers tasted both in texture and flavour. To elevate this burger to the status of gourmet, the best quality meat is used and I have added no less than 11 extra ingredients, from fresh coriander to slow roasted garlic.

When this lamb burger finally goes on the menu it will be served in a focaccia bun, with a yogurt raita and sweet potato wedges. For this recipe column, I have served it in a normal burger bun – we haven’t quite got round to taste-testing focaccia recipes. That will take place next week and only then will the dish that receives the most thumbs up make it out of the kitchen and into the restaurant. As you can see, there is no such thing as fast food when it comes to our gourmet burgers.”

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Gourmet lamb burgers

Makes six 160g burgers (6oz)

1 kg of lamb mince

1 red onion, finally diced

Half a bulb of roasted garlic – see note*.

3 tsps salt

2 tsps cracked black pepper

Half a bunch of fresh coriander

2 tsps cumin

2 tsps paprika

4 spring onions

Half a bird’s eye chilli, seeds in and finely chopped.

1 egg, beaten

Breadcrumbs made from 2 slices of fresh white bread

Method; First, shallow fry the red onion in a little oil until soft. Leave to cool slightly. In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and use your hands to mix them thoroughly together. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions. Roll into balls and then flatten to shape into patties. On a griddle or in a frying pan, cook the burgers for about 4-5 minutes each side. Serve in a focaccia bun with your favourite accompaniments.

*To make roasted garlic, take a whole bulb and cut off the pointy end. Drizzle with olive oil, a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of thyme. Roast in a preheated oven 160oC for 30-35minutes. To use in a recipe, squeeze out the roasted garlic paste.