A good juicy American burger stacked up with home-made tomato sauce, a slice of roasted aubergine, and topped with a slice of stringy mozzarella cheese. Something a little more exciting for adults, but not too adventurous for children.
For six hungry people you will need:
- 12 Macbeth’s quarter pound beef steak burgers
- 1 large or 2 medium red onions, finely chopped
- 1 medium red pepper, cut into small cubes
- 2 large cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes (or another can of chopped tomatoes)
- 1 tablespoon of sun-dried tomato paste or tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 teaspoonful mixed Italian herbs
- salt, pepper and a little sugar to taste
- 2 fat aubergines – optional
- a little olive oil for brushing
- either a block of mozzarella for pizza or (preferably),
- 2 bags of fresh mozzarella in brine, cut into slices.
First make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the chopped onions and peppers. Cook them gently until they are beginning to soften and add the crushed garlic and herbs. Mix well, then add the cherry tomatoes, (if you are using them) and allow to cook for a minute of two, then add the canned tomatoes, the tomato paste and the salt and pepper. Leave this mixture to cook gently for 30 minutes, checking every so often, and stirring well to prevent it catching. When the sauce has become thick and emulsified, remove from the heat and check the seasoning – if it seems a little tart, add half a teaspoon of sugar to balance it. The sauce can now wait until you are ready to use it and will just require some gentle re-heating.
If you are including the aubergines, you will need to pre-heat your grill to maximum. If you have an Aga you can use the hot oven. Slice the aubergines thickly and place them on a heavy baking tray that has been lightly brushed with olive oil. Brush the tops of the slices too and either put them under the grill or in the oven until they begin to brown. (You will need to watch the grill!) Turn them over to cook on the other side and then put them to wait along with the sauce.
When you are ready to cook the burgers, heat a large non-stick frying pan or griddle pan and then add as many burgers as it will take. Cook them on both sides, but do not over-cook, and then place them on the baking tray on which you grilled the aubergine. Create a “stack” by placing a slice of aubergine, a tablespoonful of tomato sauce and then a slice of mozzarella on top. Place the completed tray under the grill, or back into the hot oven, until the cheese is melted and then serve with new potatoes or home-made oven-roasted potato wedges and a crisp green salad.