For all appearances, it’s the “perfect” burger and fries meal. Yet, it left me wanting something else…
What could be better, after all, for the die-hard burger and fries kind of guy to whom I’m married? It had everything he wanted…not just hamburgers, but LAMB burgers…my own special blend. And bacon! A Dijon/mayonnaise for dipping and homemade fries, straight out of a vat of hot hot grease! I’ll admit, it was pretty darned good. But it wasn’t what I was craving. And I mean CRAVING!
A few hours before I began my meal preparations, a friend uploaded a photograph. It was a picture of a counter and the overhead menu at a fast food place. Ordinarily this would not be very inspiring, except! She, very
gloatingly innocently, asked, “What’ll y’all have?” She was standing in line at a Southern Institution! She was at The Varsity in Atlanta.
I just about died!
For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Varsity,
I have the utmost pity for you have definitely missed out. Why, you ask? Because The Varsity has the best made-from-scratch-honest-to-baby-Jesus (as in not those frozen monstrosity) onion rings south of the Mason-Dixon line. I mean. THE. very. best! That’s why! I’d love to tell you what makes them so special…but words fail me. They are onion ring perfection. They are simply amazing.
Ugh…needless to say, that single post started a mighty hankerin’ for some onion rings! I just HAD to make us some onion rings! Oh, I knew they wouldn’t be The Varsity onion rings, but they’d for SURE make me not want to
strangle my friend drive to Atlanta for the real deal.
This meant that burgers were a must-have (Forrest Gump surely said that hamburgers and onion rings are like peas and carrots, right?). Stand by, though…I have a confession to make. I’m not the biggest fan of hamburgers in the world. *gasp* Before I get voted off the island for being un-American? I adore lamb burgers, which I developed a blend for in order to satisfy me AND Mr. Saucy.
With visions of The Varsity onion rings dancing in my head, I went to the market and bought the most beautiful Vadalia onions. I drove home and soaked huge, FAT slices in buttermilk. I drooled all over the kitchen counters in anticipation. Then?
Come time to fry up those babies…I. could. NOT. get. the. batter. to. stick! I tried everything. I dry breaded them. I made a batter. I double dipped them. Each. and. every. one. would slide into that hot grease and shed their clothes faster than a stripper with a C note dangled in front of her face.
The onion rings were not to be.
I grabbed a potato, cut it Julienne style, threw the pieces in the hot oil and I “settled” for some homemade seasoned fries. There wasn’t anything special about them, so I’m not going to post a recipe for the fries. As a matter of fact…those damnable fries? Those not-what-I-really-wanted-fries? Adding insult to injury? They scorched the roof of my mouth. They KNEW they were second best!
Besides, you really want those onion rings now, too, don’t you?!? I’m sorry if it disappoints you, but onion rings are gonna have to come in another post.
What won’t disappoint you are these burgers. I have a couple of variations, but this is the recipe I used:
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1 pound ground beef (I prefer a lean, 85% or higher blend, since the lamb is so fatty – in a perfect for burgers kind of way.)
- 1 small onion, very finely minced (I cut one in quarters and run it in my mini food processor. You want it very small. It is there to add flavor, but also for added moisture.)
- ⅓ cup feta cheese, finely crumbled
- 1½ tablespoons blended seasoning mix (*my blend can be found in the link below)
- Place all of the ingredients into a large bowl. Having the seasonings mixed all through the burgers really makes a difference. Instead of just being sprinkled on the outside, you get the flavors in every morsel.
- With your hands, mix thoroughly. It’s a messy job, but you want all of the onion, cheese and spices to be fully incorporated in all of the blended meat.
- Divide the contents of the bowl into equal sized balls and pat out thick and wide. For us, I make enormous burgers, so this will make 4-5 burgers.
- On a hot grill, or in a skillet on the stove top (not preferable), cook the burgers until done to your desired temperature. This will depend on the size and thickness of the burgers.
- Dress with your favorite burger toppings and dig in!
There is a richness to these burgers that will set you to salivating. Hope you’ll try ‘em sometime!
And, I see a road trip to Atlanta in my future! Those Varsity onion rings are callin’ my name!