French Onion Burger

French Onion BurgerI’ve been collecting and tweaking my recipes for years.  In all likelihood, I’ll never get to sample every recipe I’ve tucked away over the years. Needless to say, in that collection are burger recipes.  Really?  My husband asked.  Burgers?  What’s a recipe got to do with it?  Form a patty, throw it on the grill and then slap that bad boy between two buns, load on the ketchup and there you go.  What does he know?  He says the same thing about meat loaf, which if he had it his way would be a big hunk of ground beef smothered in ketchup.  That explains why I’m the cook and he’s the bottle washer.

Anyway, I was thumbing through my burger recipes when I came across one called “French Onion Burger” from  (The photo is from the same site).  Hum, I like French, so why not give it a whirl?  Naturally, I made a few changes to suit my family’s particular tastes (and yes, I let my husband have the ketchup bottle) – so I thought I’d share both the original recipe and my take on it.  Between you and me, there’s very little I would have changed if it weren’t for my ketchup loving mate.  The one big difference between mine and the original is that the original uses 2 pounds of ground beef to form 8 patties.  I made 6  – big, thick and juicy just the way the men-folk around here like ’em.

As a kid, I loved to smash Lay’s Potato Chips and put them on my bologna sandwiches, so when I saw that this recipe has you put potato chips on your burgers, I was all into it.  Yeah, sounds crazy, but trust me – it’s really good!

Without further ado I give you the French Onion Burger . . .

Caramelized Onions:
3 large yellow onions
4 Tablespoons butter
1 Cup water
2 beef bullion cubes
1/2 Cup sour cream (Bet this is good, but I left it out because it clashed with my husband’s ketchup)

Burger Patties:
2 pounds ground beef
2 packages (1 box) Lipton onion soup mix
Worcestershire Sauce to taste (original recipe said 1 teaspoon – I added about twice that, so it’s really a personal thing)
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste (I was light on the salt, heavy on the pepper)

The Buns & Toppings:
6 hamburger buns
6 dill pickle Stackers
6 slices Sharp Cheddar Cheese (the original called for American or Swiss)
1 Bag Ruffled Potato Chips
6 Tablespoons Mayonnaise (unless you’re my husband – skip the mayo, add ketchup)
6 Tablespoons Sweet Baby Rays Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce

Thinly slice your onions. (I used a Mandoline to make quick work of this)

Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions to the pan and stir them a bit to coat the onions in the butter.  Place a lid over the pan tilted at an angle to allow some of the steam to escape as the onions brown.

Stir as needed to prevent burning.  If necessary, reduce heat to medium.  You want the onions to caramelize nicely for about 15 minutes without becoming over-cooked.

While the onions are caramelizing, make the patties.

Place half of the ground beef into a large bowl.  Empty both envelopes of soup mix on top of the ground beef.  Add the Worcestershire Sauce, eggs, salt and pepper then remaining ground beef.  (The original recipe did not have you divide the meat – I do only because you are putting the seasonings in the middle and mixing from there).  Now for the fun part . . . roll up your sleeves, get your hands into the meat and really work it up to mix the soup mix throughout the meat.  

Divide the mixture into six equal balls, then flatten to form the patties.  If you haven’t already done so, heat up the grill and lightly oil the grate to prevent the meat from sticking.

While the burgers are grilling, finish the onions.

Dissolve the beef bullion cubes into the water.  (I have a little craft hammer that I keep with all my wooden spoons just for times like this – one or two whacks with my little hammer on the wrapped bullion cubes, then I dump the “pulverized” bullion into the water and watch it dissolve in no time). Pour the flavor-infused water over the caramelized onions, turn up the heat and let the onions stew in the liquid uncovered until most of it is gone.  (Talk about bringing up the flavor a notch or two!)

Here’s where I made another change from the original – I skipped this part completely – but if you would rather stick to the original, be my guest.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sour cream.  (Next time I’m going to divide the onion mixture, and do half with the sour cream).

Just before the burgers are finished, lay your cheese over the patties and cover the grill.  Continue cooking until the cheese is completely melted.

Now it’s time to assemble the burgers.  It goes something like this: Bottom Bun, barbecue sauce, pickles, potato chips, burger, cheese, caramelized onions, top bun with mayonnaise.  (Again, a deviation from the original – but that’s just the way we build ’em in our house).  However you assemble your burger is up to you – just remember the most amazing and important component – THE POTATO CHIPS!  It will make all the difference in the world.

Now my grandson likes to kick it up a few degrees, so he added Nacho Jalapenos to the mix.

All I can say is these are darn good burgers.  Oh, and hubby who said “what recipe?” has already requested we make this up again real soon.

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