Makes 4 1/4 lb. burgers or 6-8 sliders
I used to be vegetarian…for nearly a decade. I loved my vegetarian diet; it very much became a part of my identity. It was hard work but I believed I was doing the best for my health and the planet. It turns out that what’s best for your health changes as you change and change isn’t a bad thing! (As for the planet, eating grass-fed meat is ideal.)
My journey to consuming animal protein began before culinary school, but being in school, studying food and being surrounded by a wonderful group of supportive people pushed me over the delicious edge. It was indeed love at first bite…after bite, after bite. I was surprised to feel more grounded, bolder and much more optimistic after just a few days of careful bites. I was somehow becoming a new me. I had been so concerned about the physical effects of eating or not-eating animal protein that I had forgotten about the very real emotional, mental and spiritual effects. Those were the first changes I noticed. Slowly my physical health also improved as my system was reaching more balance.
The grass-fed burger is so delicious you really don’t have to do much to it. And that’s the whole point of great cooking! Source the highest quality ingredients and let those flavors shine through! To quote Michael Pollan, “eating a grass-fed burger when you can picture the green pastures in which the animal grazed is a pleasure of another order, not a simple one, to be sure, but one based on knowledge rather than ignorance and gratitude rather than indifference.” You really can taste the pastures and the sun and the rain. It is quite sublime and you can’t help but feel a deep connection to the Earth and a deep respect and gratitude for the animals raised for our consumption and the farmers who love and tend to them.
Nutritionally, grass-fed burgers are superior in every sense of the word. Grass-fed beef is free of growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, stress, sickness! It is much higher in Omega 3 fatty-acids (think brain and heart food,) than its grain-fed counterparts. It is high in Vitamin E and abundant in CLA or conjugated linoleic acid, which may be one of the greatest defenses we have against cancer. Grass-fed beef is often lean so it is lower in fat and calories and can actually reduce LDL cholesterol levels.
Being an omnivore again is good!
For more information on local and grass-fed meats, please visit www.eatwild.com.
1 lb. Grass-fed ground beef
1-2 T parsley, rough chop (totally optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1-2 T extra virgin olive oil
hamburger buns (if you really want to glam it up, brioche rolls are a nice touch;)
Parmigiano Reggiano, shaved
1. Assemble the burgers: Place beef in a bowl and season liberally with sea salt and pepper. Add chopped parsley if using and assemble into patties 1/4lb thick. (They’ll shrink a little after cooking.) Set aside as you heat a cast-iron stovetop grill…(or a gas grill!)
2. In a small sauté pan, heat oil and caramelize shallots until crispy and golden in color.
3. To cook burgers; this is a tough one since it’s more of an art than a science since there are so many X factors that affect it. On our stove-top cast iron “grill”, I (or my husband more commonly!) usually cook for about 4-5 minutes on the first side until it looks like the meat is being cooked through. Flip it over and cook for 3-4 minutes. This should produce a lovely medium burger.
4. Dress it up! We added Parmigiano and shallots this time and it was a winning combo. So much so that it will be repeated in our kitchen! Add some fresh greens and a pickle on the side.
P.S. By getting your meat from a local farm, not only are you ensuring a million health and planet and animal and farmer benefits, but you’re also guaranteeing that your yummy burger came from 1 cow, not various parts of various cows from Texas, Virginia, Argentina, just to name a few places…oh, and no pink slime either, thank you!