Living Leaner. Pork Burgers
Our experience so far with this ‘Living Leaner’ project of ours has been great. It has given the Chef a great challenge and even he will admit that this is no easy feat trying to feed our hungry brood a nutritious meal on ten euros. It can, however, be done.
I am not a fan of fast food. As a matter of fact, I hate it. If we end up taking the kids to McDonalds or Supermacs it is no more than once or twice a year. The Chef, would eat fast food once a week if he was not afraid of the tongue-lashing I would give him. I remember seeing him eating a Rally Burger once. Sitting their, in the sun, with a large malted milkshake off to the side. The sauce was dripping all down his arms and face and he was so happy. I have no idea what is in their sauce, but it made him very happy.
Besides the fact that there is little or no nutritional value in the fast food offered around these parts, the cost is outrageous. If the 6 of us were to eat at one of the aforementioned joints it would be ringing in close to €50. That is fifty bucks for a belly full of crap. Yep – once or twice a year is plenty.
That being said, we do sometimes over compensate for not letting them eat fast food by making our own version of ‘burgers n’ chips’ right here at home. Needless to say, this is one of those things that has kind of backfired on us because the kids now prefer ‘homemade fast food’ to the drive-thru so it makes taking a night off damn near impossible!
Making a burger is not brain surgery guys and the most important thing to remember is this ‘garbage in = garbage out’. If you start with a decent product like lean pork, aside from a little bit of salt & pepper you should not have to do a damn thing other than cook this. Do not add breadcrumbs, do not add onions, do not add anything. Just mix the meat with the seasoning and shape it into the ‘right’ size patties.
Each of the kids have different ‘sized’ appetites. It ranges from ‘starving’ to ‘I could eat a small horse* kind of starving’ so we plan accordingly and if they want a second burger we encourage them to go ‘bun free’…and just give them a few extra leaves of spinach or iceberg lettuce.
* Horses were not harmed in the making of these burgers
Sauté the burgers for a few minutes on each side in a sizzling hot pan then put them in the oven to finish. Under no circumstances should you ever ever press an object of heavy weight down on your burger. If you do, you will squeeze out all the juices from the meat and you will end up with a dry chewy piece of cardboard. Leave it alone. Step away from the pan. Get your potato peeler out and start peeling your potatoes and make a few handcut-homemade-french fries. Or, do what we did and open a bag of frozen chips and bung them in the oven.
Had we actually made chips from scratch on this one we would have come in so far under budget we would have had enough money left over to make pie. But we were in a hurry and wanted ‘fast’ food.
Pork …………… €4.00
Chips ………….. €2.39
Salad …………. €1.99 (we are still using our own tomatoes/onions)
Burger buns……. €1.19
Total ……. €9.57
I realise there is nothing fancy about this meal at all and anyone can blog about throwing oven chips in the oven for heavens sake. This morning I watched the news and they were talking about the connection between low income families, lack of education regarding food and nutrition and how this all links to the sky rocketing levels of childhood obesity in Ireland. We used a very lean piece of pork with oven fries, and everyone ate boat loads of salad. I think, for fast food, it is as good as it gets really and a hell of a lot cheaper.
Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to participate in a photo and food writing workshop called Plate2Page and I got to meet a lot of really cool people. One of the other participants and I (Simone from JungleFrog Cooking) have become good friends and she has jumped on board and is also going to blog a few recipes for under ten euros. Her most recent entry is for a wonderful winter soup, and be warned folks, her photos are awesome!
Those are all the WiseWords I have for today,
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I am a native Galway girl that seems to be drawn to professions that rhyme with 'err'. Writer, Mother, Restauranteur, Wedding Planner, Dishwasher, Grass cutter, Cocktail maker. I suppose you could say I am a well rounded entrepreneur.
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