NOW is it warm enough to grill where you live? I have my fingers crossed for you, but surely The Endless Winter of 2012-13 has got to be over for everyone now.
Hopefully. Because celebrating National Burger Month with snow on the ground? It just ain’t right.
We love our fancy burgers around here and have a few more to add to the menu this month. First up? Sliders topped with beer-glazed caramelized onions and brie.
By definition, miniature anythings are fancy. Add brie? TOTALLY Food & Wine-worthy. But the real stars here are the caramelized onions. Right at the end of cooking, they’re simmered in beer until a nice, syrupy glaze forms. It’s not just an excuse to open a beer, but it is an excuse if you need one.
For the beer, go with an amber or brown ale. If you’re not a beer drinker, you can skip the glaze… but maybe you try it anyway!
Sliders with Beer-Glazed Caramelized Onions and Brie
Grilled beef sliders go fancy with craft brew-glazed caramelized onions, fruit preserves, and brie. (Amber or brown ale recommended.)
For the onions:
2 tsp olive oil
1 large white or yellow onion
1/2 cup beer (I used an amber ale)
For the sliders
6 slider buns
6 grilled slider patties (~2 1/2 oz precooked)
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
Cut the onion pole-to-pole and then slice into 1/4-inch half-rounds.
Add all at once to the pan, reduce heat to medium, and let cook, stirring occasionally.
If the onions get too dry before completely browning, add a couple Tbsp water and reduce heat even more.
When the onions have browned to your liking, add the beer and let simmer until the beer reduces to a nice, syrupy glaze for the onions.
To build the sliders, spread preserves onto the buns and top with a burger patty, slices of brie (cut to fit the slider), and a spoon of the onions.
Thanksgiving leftovers don’t have to suck. I mean they can, and after 3 days of the same exact thing, they usually do. But they can be reimagined in non-sucking ways. Take cranberry sauce, for instance.
Leftover cranberry sauce is something that I firmly believe can never be a bad thing. Cranberries themselves are good with chocolate, turkey, tequila, and even cheese. And cranberry sauce can be slathered on and in anything. Like hamburgers.
We’re “blessed” with the kind of weather that allows us to grill nearly year-round in southeast Texas. There are still plenty of times that I’d like to trade 10-day forecasts with a further-up-north friend – it really is a little depressing to need the AC on Thanksgiving. But being able to grill fajitas and enjoy a pitcher of Pomegranate Margaritas under a gorgeous, fiery Texas sunset is a trade-off that’s gets easier and easier to accept, the farther away we get from the oppressive heat of August. And September…
And let’s be real here. All but 3 days of October, too.
But the weather has changed enough to allow a person to believe that the holidays are fast approaching and I can now get my annual overdose of cranberries and grapefruit and Christmas Vacation.
Fancy Burger Night last week was the perfect way to help use up some of the leftover cranberry-apricot chutney. And the little bit of brie that I somehow managed not to eat all by myself.
The tangy, barely sweet cranberry sauce is the perfect balance to the rich, buttery brie. We used ground beef for the burgers but ground turkey would be just as good, if not better!
I grew up in a very small town where, by today’s standards, the “exotic” food choices weren’t exotic at all. There were many common foods that I never tried until into my mid-20s. Yet somehow in my early 20s I gained the “Martha Stewart” nickname among my girlfriends, despite being very much a connoisseur of Lean Cuisine and Duncan Hines.
What that really meant was I had a subscription to Martha Stewart Living, I kept my apartment clean, and I could make a mean chocolate chunk cookie and wrap a fancy sheet of puff pastry around a wheel of fancy cheese topped with a mound of caramelized onions. An appetizer that’s still one of my very, very favorite things to eat to this day.
At Thanksgiving and Christmas, those caramelized onions are replaced with a cranberry concoction. The appetizer comes together pretty quickly – place a few generous scoops of cranberry-apricot chutney over top, wrap in puff pastry, pinch the sides to seal, and bake. The end result is a melty, creamy cheese topped with a sweet & tangy sauce, all wrapped in a buttery, flakey crust. I haven’t done the math but I’m pretty sure it’s close to 2500 calories a bite.
A side note: Don’t shoot me… but if you have a lull before the holidays, set aside some time to make homemade puff pastry if you can swing it. We’re talking 20 minutes of hands-on + an hour rest. It’s pretty much just butter and flour but it’s ridiculously amazing. And a side-by-side taste-test with the box from the freezer section proves that it’s totally worth the effort. I made a batch last week, which yields the equivalent of 2 store-bought boxes (4 sheets total) and have 3 sheets left to get me through the holidays.
Baked Brie with Cranberry-Apricot Chutney
Tangy cranberry-apricot chutney tops a creamy wheel of brie wrapped with flakey, buttery puff pastry.
Lightly spray a small baking dish with baking spray or cooking oil. I have a small 6-inch mini-casserole dish that works perfectly - otherwise, just select something that has a slight lip or sides in case your brie tries to make a run for it.
Unfold the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it a couple of times each direction.
Place the wheel of brie in the center of the dough and top the wheel with cranberry chutney.
Fold the sides around the brie, pinching to seal (it may or may not cover the top) and trimming if necessary.
Place the wrapped brie in the baking dish.
Whisk egg with 1 Tbsp water and brush the dough.
Bake for ~25 minutes, until golden brown.
Let cool ~10 minutes and transfer to a dish.
Serve warm or room temp with crunchy dippers like pita chips and toasted bread.