Finnish foodies know who Akseli Herlevi is. He is a chef that amazed the judges in Top Chef (of Finland) TV show with his hamburger. Later he actually won the whole contest. Shortly after that Aleksi complained that there’s not a good hamburger available in Helsinki (Read Akseli’s interview in Finnish). He also said that he’s looking for premises for his own hamburger restaurant.
Well, he found the premises. The grand opening was today 20th of November, 2015! Fortunately I had a work related trip to Helsinki and we had a bit of a party time last night. The new restaurant opened just in time at 11 o’clock to cure the hangover and the place was just around the corner of my hotel. What a coincidence…
When I arrived 15 minutes early, there was already a queue of about 20 people in front of the restaurant. Everyone was waiting anxiously to get in. When the doors opened, the waitresses came to hand us menus and explained about the ingredients in the burgers. They even have beer as beverage and not just one beer. A huge load of different special beers! I salute you, sir, because I like to enjoy my brgr with a beer!
Because there was an endless queue of customers getting in all the time, the delivery time from order was about 15 minutes which in my opinion in the situation is all right. The burgers are picked up from the kitchen desk and there’s a guy yelling ticket numbers. I had the original Naughty BRGR. And oh boy, it was a delicious burger! The patty was medium rare and there were no other vegies except rocket salad. The patty was loaded with two cheeses: cheddar and blue cheese. In addition it was equipped with special bacon-onion salsa and aioli. The combination of flavours is just SO GOOD. I don’t know if my upcoming hangover had something to do with it, but this burger was the best burger I’ve ever had! Even our own homemade burgers included. Damn.
Where is Naughty BRGR?
It’s in the middle of Helsinki city center, only 5 minutes walk from central railway station. The address is Lönnrotinkatu 13. They also have a Facebook page. If you’re in Helsinki, go eat there. It’s the best goddamn burger you’ve ever had!
Last year Ramen Burger was a huge Internet trend among foodies. Our crystal ball is telling us that for 2014 it will be Cemita Poblana. Cemita is a Mexican hamburger which combines avocado, pork, beef or chicken, chipotle peppers and cheese in a way that you’ll never want to go to a McDonald’s again! The bread made in Puebla, Mexico is considered to be the original version of Cemita Poblana. And the famous place to try one would be Mercado del Carmen, the market hall of Puebla.
This delicious creation is not hard to make, but it needs some ingredients which need a bit of preparation, if not done fresh. Like chipotle peppers and hamburger buns. And since we’re not taking shortcuts here in Spanish Food Blog, we’ll show the proper way of making real homemade cemitas! For the hamburger bun recipe, check out our previous post Spanish Hamburger. This bun is perfect for cemitas as well! But let’s start by watching the YouTube video from Mercado del Carmen which inspired us:
And without further delays, let’s smoke some chili peppers for Chipotle salsa.
Ingredients for Chipotle Pineapple Salsa
20 chili peppers – pimientos picantes
2 onions – cebollas
1 litre (4 cups) of water – agua
3 bay leaves – laureles
palm sugar – azugar palma
1 large can of pineapple – lata de piña
2 cloves of garlic – dientes de ajo
4 tablespoons of fried onion – cebolla frita
2 cinnamon sticks – canela
sea salt – sal marina
ground black pepper – pimienta negra
Depending on how spicy chipotle you want, deseed all or only part of the chili peppers. Cook the peppers in a smoker on low heat until they are lightly brown (depending on your smoker and heat it takes from 45 minutes to hours).
Pour contents of the pineapple can to a sauce pan (the juice, too!) along with the water. Bring to boil on high heat and lower the heat so the the liquid is simmering slowly. Add the smoked chili peppers, onions, sliced garlic, bay leaves, fried onions and cinnamon sticks. Leave the pot simmering without lid for about 2-3 hours.
Add some palm sugar, salt and pepper and check the taste. Do not over season, because the sauce reduces. Let the pot simmer for 2-3 more hours so that most of the liquid have evaporated and the structure of the salsa is desired. Check the taste and season, if needed.
First make the hamburger buns (or use your local bakery!). Cut the buns in half. Cut the avocados in half, remove the stones and use knife to spread avocado meat on the bottom half of the pans. Put some chipotle salsa on top.
Next make your breading station for the chicken breasts. Take three plates and fill them as follows:
Wheat flour seasoned with salt and ground black pepper
An egg with broken yolk
First dip the flattened breast in wheat flour, then in egg wash and finally in bread crumbs. Then fry it in medium high heat in olive or canola oil. Fry sliced onions at the same time. Put on paper towel to drain excess oil after frying.
Place the chickens on the buns, put on some mozzarella cheese, onions, slice some avocado on top and season with extra virgin olive oil, lime juice and sea salt. Serve with Mexican beer such as Coronita or Sol.
A hamburger with a Spanish twist? Why not! We decided to design a tasty burger which combines elements from Spanish cuisine. The main thing is using fresh ingredients. We bought a chuck cut which is cheap and contains enough fat for the burger. After grinding we added a taste of Spain in form of olives, capers and smoked paprika.
A while ago we found a very nice recipe for hamburger buns from a Finnish blog. The problem with homemade buns usually is that they cannot hold the weight or the moisture of the contents and they break easily. While this recipe takes 4 hours to make, it’s definitely worth it, because the structure is exactly right for hamburger. The buns become soft from the surface and they still hold the contents without breaking.
To fine tune Spanish taste a proper ketchup and mayonnaise would be in order, too. We made our own ketchup from scratch, but took a shortcut with mayo. Mayo is not hard to make, but it goes stale quickly. Homemade mayonnaise in restaurants was banned in Andalucia a few years ago. As a result cases of food poisoning dropped dramatically!
Last, but not least, we fried some onions and green paprika in honey and soy sauce. Green paprika brings nice color while caramelized onions offer a great flavor!
Ingredients for Hamburger Buns for 4 Servings
1 dl (1/2 cups) water (42 °C, 108 ºF) – agua
2 tablespoons of milk – leche
1 teaspoon of yeast – levadura
1 tablespoon of sugar – azucar
2 eggs – huevos
4 dl (2 cups) wheat flour – harina de trigo
1 teaspoon of salt – sal
1,5 tablespoons of soft butter – mantequilla
sesame seeds – semillas de sésamo
Combine warm water, milk, yeast and sugar. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Break 1 egg in a glass and whisk a little. Put flour in a bowl and stir the salt and soft butter in. Then add the water/milk mixture and the whisked egg to the flours and knead to dough.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 8-10 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. The dough will be sticky, so you may need to add a little flour kneading easier.
Rise for 2 hours. Time seems long, but it is worth it.
Roll the flattened balls and rise under a towel for another 2 hours.
After 4 hours of waiting time you can finally brush the buns with egg and add sesame seeds. Bake them at 200 °C (400 ºF) for 10-15 minutes. Let the buns rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing them in half.
Soften minced garlic and chili in olive oil in a saucepan. Slice tomatoes in 4 slices and add them to the saucepan, too. Let the tomatoes soften a bit so that juice extracts. Stir the mixture every once in awhile. When tomatoes are soft and juices are boiling, add a little bit honey to cut the bitterness of tomatoes, a pinch of salt, pepper and smoked paprika and a slash of vinegar to taste. Too not over season, because the ketchup is reduced by half. Add tomato paste, which brings flavor and turn color from yellowish to more red. Let the mixture simmer for about 1-1,5 hours until the structure is right. Add salt, pepper, smoked paprika, honey and vinegar, if needed. Stir well and let it cool before serving.
Ingredients for Spanish Mayonnaise
2 dl (0.5 cups) jar of mayonnaise
2 cloves of garlic – dientes de ajo
1 teaspoon of Spanish smoked paprika, spicy – pimentón picante
Mince the garlic and mix well with mayonnaise and smoked paprika. Voilá, you are done! Let the mixture rest in the fridge for at least an hour.
Ingredients for Spanish Hamburgers for 4 Servings
500 g (20 oz) ground chuck – carne de vacuno picada
1 dl (0.5 cups) of green olives with stones removed – olivas verdes
0,5 dl (0,25 cups) of capers – alcaparras
2 teaspoons of Spanish smoked paprika, spicy – pimentón picante
pinch of salt and ground black pepper – sal y pimienta negra
Mince olives and capers and mix well with ground chuck, smoked paprika, salt and ground black pepper. Shape the hamburgers and grill them about 2 minutes per side, if you want them medium.
Cut the buns in half and coat top side with the mayo and bottom side with the ketchup. Put onion/paprika mix on the bottom, place the hamburger on top of that and finish with cheese of your choice. We used brie which works very well with this hamburger.