Add ZING to Your Burger with Apple, Kale & Pickled Radish

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by Jordan Danz & Clare Jacky

There is nothing better than a big, juicy burger. They happen to be very trendy right now. You can walk into any restaurant and find the chef’s interpretation of the classic burger on the menu... so I thought I would jump on the bandwagon and share my burger recipe.

For me, the perfect burger starts with the meat. There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying pre-ground meat, but if you can grind your own or have a butcher grind your meat selection for you, I suggest trying it.

For my burger recipe I chose beef short ribs. They contain a good amount of fat which will help keep the burgers moist and very flavorful. If you have a meat grinder or a grinding attachment for a stand mixer, you are all set, but you can grind meat just fine in a food processor. Simply cut the meat into one-inch cubes and pulse the blade 10–20 times until the meat is ground up but not pasty (it will become a paste if you just run the blade).

Wanting something tart on my burger, I decided to pickle some radishes. Home pickling could not be simpler—three words: vinegar, salt and sugar. That is really the basis of pickling and everything else is just extra deliciousness. Here is the recipe.

Pickled Radishes

1 tsp peppercorns

1 tsp fennel seed

2 bay leaves, crushed

3 Tbsp salt

1/4 cup sugar

1 bundle of radishes, thinly sliced

Enough sherry vinegar to fill

Place all ingredients (except vinegar) in a one pint mason jar, then fill with vinegar to the rim. Screw on the lid and lightly shake to dissolve sugar and salt. Place in the fridge and let sit for at least three hours.

I felt the burger needed some bitterness and grassiness, and thought some braised kale would be a perfect balance to the tart pickled radishes. There is a trick to get the kale to almost melt in your mouth... massage the kale. I know, it sounds weird, but it begins the process of breaking down the kale before the cooking begins, giving you melty, mouthwatering kale. Here is how you do it.

Braised Kale

1 bunch of kale, stems removed and chopped

2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp lemon juice

Massage chopped kale for 3–5 minutes. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and kale. Stir to coat then add salt, pepper and lemon juice, cover and cook for 10 minutes and it’s ready.

Having hit the tart and bitter flavors I felt we needed some sweetness and of course a bit of crunch. So I decided some sliced apple would be a nice addition to this burger. Make sure to choose Macintosh or Gala apples which have more sweetness and avoid overly tart types like Granny Smith.

And now that we have analyzed the parts of the burger, let’s put it all together!

Apple, Kale and Pickled Radish Burger

pickled radishes

braised kale

8 slices of apple

4 slices sharp white cheddar cheese

1 1/2 lbs ground short ribs

4 buns

Form the meat into four equal patties (don’t over work the meat or it will get tough). Salt and pepper each side of the patties. Grill to desired temperature, placing cheese on each in the last minute of cooking to melt. Once done, set aside to rest for three to five minutes. On the bottom of each bun, place a layer of the kale, then two slices of apples. Place the burger patty on top of that, top with the pickled radishes, and finish with the top bun. Happy eating!

Jordan Danz and Clare Jacky are the co-editors of the food blog OurQueerDinner.wordpress.com, a collection of recipes and stories centered on their chosen family of friends in Minneapolis. They share a common love for food, family dinners and Saturday morning PBS cooking shows.