Lemon Burgers with Chilli Avocado

I can’t remember the last time I ate a burger in a bun. I prefer treating them like giant meatballs and serving them with salad or salsa or something creamy like tzatziki or hummus. These burgers were flavoured with slippery soft onion and garlic and formed into thick, round blocks, the oil from frying the onion helping to make them stick together and oil the surface so they don’t catch on the griddle when they’re cooked. I served them with a big dollop of noticeably superior French cream cheese (Paysan Breton from Waitrose) and lemon-lashed slices of avocado splashed with sweet chilli sauce. With (oven) French fries (good discovery at M&S; 11 mins 220C), this was a fantastic combination that comes highly recommended. If there are leftovers, chill the burger (covered) and treat like terrine with toast and cornichons or turn into a pic-nic feast. Here sliced over shredded lettuce, white beans, avo, sweet chilli, sliced green olives and mint with squeeze lemon and tablespoon vinaigrette.  

Serves 2, greedily

Prep: 20 min

Cook: 12 min

1 onion

1 tbsp olive oil

1 garlic cove

500g quality minced beef

1 lemon

1 tbsp vegetable oil

4 dsp soft, creamy cheese

2 avocados

sweet chilli sauce     

Halve, peel and finely chop the onion. Soften in a frying pan in 1 tbsp olive oil over a medium heat. Stir occasionally, so it cooks evenly. Finely chop the garlic. Spread the mince out in a mixing bowl. Use a microplane to grate the lemon zest over the mince and season with salt and black pepper. By now the onion will be almost soft so stir in the garlic. Cook, stirring often, as the garlic turns aromatic and begins to soften. When the onion is sloppily soft and juicy, scoop the contents of the pan over the mince and use a fork to mix and spread the seasoning evenly. Now continue with your hands, mulching everything together almost as if you are making pastry or bread dough. It will cling together. Divide in 4 equal pieces and work them into chunky burgers, approx 2cm thick. If necessary, chill, covered with clingfilm, or cook immediately  in 1 tbsp hot vegetable oil in a heavy frying pan, on a bbq at white ash stage or on a griddle. Cook without moving for a couple of minutes, use a spatula/egg slice to slide under the burgers to turn. Cook as before and repeat cooking on both sides if you like well done burgers; you will have to judge the exact cooking times, I like to press down with the egg slice for good contact. Serve with a spoonful of soft cheese and chilli avo to pile over and around the burger. To prepare the avocadoes, run a sharp, small knife around the length of the avos, twist apart, remove the stone and skin, place flat side down and slice thinly across the halves. Pile into a dish, squeeze over lemon juice and a dribble of sweet chilli sauce.