We all have differing opinions on leftovers. Some of us love them, some of us hate them, some of us love some and hate others. Nonetheless, when you cook a great deal at home, you’ll end up eating leftovers at some point.
Sometimes, you get the rest of the soup. Sometimes, you get prime tenderloin burgers.
We had had a fancy dinner with some folks and made a whole tenderloin with port/shallot gravy. We got it from the new Whole Foods which recently opened up nearby. There’s already another one in Tampa and we weren’t particularly happy with the meat, but you always give the new place at least one shot. The short story is that we were ecstatic with the quality of the meat and the whole meal turned out great. That’s story for another day.
When I ordered the tenderloin, I naturally asked the butcher to trim and tie it. I asked him if I could have the trim. I was pleasantly surprised to see him weigh the tenderloin post-trim. It’s been my experience around here that they weigh it first, charge you for the whole thing and then trim it. I asked them if they would mind grinding the trim so I could make burgers out of it, and one of the butchers looked at me like he had never heard such an idea. Sure, tenderloin isn’t a great burger meat—it’s not fatty enough. But the trim? Now we’re talking. They charged me about half the price of the tenderloin for the trim, which weighed in at 2.5 pounds. The math that that makes five half-pound burgers and that there are five meat-eaters in the Monday Night Gamers jumped right into my head.
All in all, they were pretty simple. I didn’t want to add too much to them. To that 2.5 pounds of meat, I added about a cup of panko crumbs and two eggs, just for binding. I sprinkled them with a tablespoon each of salt and pepper. I wanted the richness of the meat to come straight through and then provide other flavors and textures with the condiments. We still had some of the port-shallot gravy left, so I dressed the bun (Pepperidge Farm Onion rolls) with that. Crumbled goat cheese went underneath the burger, roasted red peppers and baby arugula on top, and we were done.
While I was making the burgers, Gretchyn sliced some russets and onions on the hand mandolin, tossed them in oil, salt, and pepper, and sautéed them until the potatoes softened. She then roasted them in the oven at 400 for 20 minutes, until they crisped up nicely. We had just enough broccoli left from the plants out back to make a nice little side.
The burgers came out just as I had hoped. The rich, tenderness of the meat blended with the tang of the goat cheese, a nice spice from the peppers, and the peppery goodness of the arugula. Done medium-rare, they were still sufficiently juicy without being sloppy. Perfection.
No wine says “burgers” to me like a Zinfandel, so we broke out the first of our 2011 Bedrock Old Vine Zin. Bedrock is a small producer that you can only get by being on their mailing list. The wines are nicely-priced and keep impressing. I suggest looking into them.