Monday, November 29, 2010

Mushroom And Swiss

Burger joint Hardees has a sandwich called Mushroom n Swiss, a beef patty covered in a dark mushroom mixture and topped with a slice of something that may once have been based on emmental. Sarah has always had a fatal weakness for this particularly fine example of fast food at its most terrifying. The trouble is, of course, that it’s delicious. It’s only shortly afterwards that you realise the aftertaste isn’t a fine countryside organic wholefood experience but a powerful charge of salt, sugar and awful chemical compounds designed to smack your tastebuds so hard around the head they don’t even realise they’re eating mass produced processed gunk that, without the chemicals, would be a tasteless pile of goo leached of any goodness or flavour.

There’s a vile little recipe circulating on the interwebs that uses tinned mushrooms and Campbell’s mushroom soup to recreate the Mushroom n Swiss experience. I find it odd how many American recipes start with ingredient lists of packets of this and cans of that. It’s almost as if raw food doesn’t exist.

Anyway, here’s a go at doing a homemade mushroom n swiss that doesn’t use canned shite. Although it does use other things that my old mum wouldn’t allow in the house. It’s a guilty pleasure, this one...

  • 250g fresh button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp mushroom soy sauce
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 100ml wine or stock
  • Oil
  • 500g minced beef
  • Processed Emmental slices
  • Golden Loaf Bakery burger baps (the sesame ones)
Splash a frying pan with the oil and fry off the mushrooms on a high heat so they brown and then start to relax and become moist. Slosh in the soy sauce and mix it all up, followed by the other ingredients. Keep it all moving in the pan and cook until it’s a mixture of soft mushroom in a thick, dark, sauce. Cover and keep in a warm place.

Split the beef into four balls of equal size and weight, then squash these into round discs – they should be 1-2 cm bigger all round than the buns and quite thin, you don’t want great thick patties that form a wodge inside the bun, you want a bun-matching beef patty experience - and the pattys shrink when you cook 'em (you might think that's too obvious to mention, but many burger-serving restaurants that aren't massive chains get it wrong time after time). You can either pan-fry the patties with a quick brush of oil (use a grillpan) or, better, grill ‘em off. Either way, you don’t want to cremate ‘em, just seal them and let them cook through a little - there should be a tinge of pink in an ideal world. This is not true to the original, of course, which is a uniform grey. They’ll keep, covered, in a warm oven for a short while. Let’s face it, the chains will keep ‘em like that for hours...

Slice the buns in half and toast the cut faces, ideally under a grill. Slap a beef patty on a bun, slather with mushroom mixture and then top with a square of shiny, suspiciously un-emmental looking stuff from a packet. If you’re feeling wicked, slip one of these slices of wrongness under the patty as well.

Serve with chips, French fries or whatever you fancy. And tomato sauce. And mayonnaise. Even mix some Dijon with the mayo.  But don’t blame us – you chose to follow this recipe and the post burger guilt thing is entirely yours to deal with.