The first bite of this burger will transport you straight to hamburger heaven. You’ll never miss the bun when you taste the tangy blue cheese as it oozes out and pairs magically with the deep, rich port wine sauce. This heavenly burger creation is the brainchild of Gordon Hamersley of the acclaimed Hamersley’s Bistro in Boston and the recipe comes from his fabulous cookbook Bistro Cooking at Home.
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Gordon Hamersley trained with Wolfgang Puck at Ma Maison in Los Angles and later lived in Nice, France for a year, learning everything he could about French bistros. In 1987 he and his wife Fiona opened Hamersley’s Bistro, which serves homey, French-inspired bistro food, and quickly became one of Boston’s favorites. In 1995 Gordon received the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Northeast. Numerous publications, including Zagat’s, have regularly ranked Hamersley’s Bistro among Boston’s finest.
A peppery arugula salad, dressed very lightly with balsamic vinaigrette, goes extremely well with the flavors of this burger. The original recipe called for using green peppercorns in brine as part of the sauce. As it happens, our market was out of green peppercorns and I didn’t have time to shop on line, so I had to come up with a substitute and capers seemed to be the logical choice. We always have a jar of capers in brine on hand as well as the salt packed capers. I used well rinsed salt packed capers and the juice of the brined variety for the green peppercorns and the sauce turned out beautifully. However, I am anxious to try the recipe as written as soon as I can find the green peppercorns. Hamersley’s recipe turned a simple American-style stuffed burger into a sophisticated, yet easy to prepare French bistro dish deeply flavored with a high-end restaurant quality sauce, certain to be served in our house many, many times to come.
Bistro Style Blue Cheese-Stuffed Burgers with a Port and Caper Sauce - Adapted from Bistro Cooking at Home by Gordon Hamersley – serves 4
4 ounces blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola or Roquefort
1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola or other neutral flavored oil
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon capers (or green peppercorns if you can find them)
2 teaspoons brine from the capers (or from the green peppercorns)
1/3 cup port wine (I used tawny as the recipe did not specify, but regular port is fine too)
1/3 cup low fat, low salt beef stock
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Chopped flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Divide the blue cheese into 4 equal pieces and shape them into balls. Divide the meat into 4 equal portions. Wrap one portion of meat around each piece of cheese. Flatten the meat and cheese to form patties. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan until it is very hot. Add the hamburgers and cook over high heat until well browned on one side. Turn the burgers over and lower the heat to medium-high. Don’t worry if some of the cheese oozes out; it will just add flavor to the sauce. Continue cooking until the burgers are done to your liking, about 10 – 12 minutes total cooking time. Remove the burgers from the pan and let them rest in a warm place.
Discard the excess grease from the pan. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, for one minute, taking care not to let the shallot burn. Remove the pan from the heat and add the capers, caper brine, and port. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, scraping up any brown bits that have accumulated. Add the beef stock and continue to cook until the sauce has reduced by half again. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Place the burgers on plates, spoon the sauce over them, garnish with the parsley, and serve at once. Peppery arugula, dressed very lightly with balsamic vinaigrette, goes extremely well with the flavors of this burger.
This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farms, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes, Foodtastic Friday at Not Your Ordinary Recipes, Seasonal Sunday at the Tablescaper, and On the Menu Monday at Stone Gable.
Disclosure: The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for this review nor did I receive a complimentary copy of this cookbook.