There are various theories about who invented the hamburger sandwich and where. But there is no arguing that it has been a popular American classic for over a hundred years. And that is easy to understand because a well-made hamburger is a thing of beauty. There are many different and creative ways to make a good hamburger, but I’m especially fond of this brie and scallion stuffed hamburger.
I ran across this recipe from Food & Wine a few years ago. I was trying to find a unique hamburger recipe, and this one really caught my eye. It was billed as a Scallion-and-Brie-Stuffed Hamburger. The idea of stuffing the burger with brie really appealed, since we all love brie (ok, maybe not Matt so much). But the recipe included the scallions in the form of a spicy scallion paste, listed as one of the ingredients. I like some spicy foods, but the concept of a spicy hamburger did not suit me, so from the get go, I made the recipe my way. And it was an instant hit!
When Sam graduated college and came back to live with us for a while, I made him one for the first time. He groaned loudly on his first bite, and made a colorful comment about how amazing it tasted. And this from my son who does not like onions of any kind. Truly the mark of a good burger!
This stuffed hamburger is not meant to shock and awe in any way but texture and flavor. It doesn’t wow you with a mountain of runny yellow cheese in the middle (not that Juicy Lucy’s don’t have their own appeal), or get piled with a bunch of creative toppings like chilis, grilled corn, or flavored mayos. To me, this burger is huge in its simplicity. I’m always pleasantly surprised on my first bite, because I forget that something so uncomplicated can have such huge flavor.
So, Let’s make this brie and scallion stuffed hamburger
Just this and salt and pepper. I told you it was simple.
Well, I mean, I used mayonnaise, onions, and baby arugula to dress my burger. But while that is what I recommend, you can dress your burger any way you like.
Start by slicing the scallions thinly, then pouring the olive oil over them. Sprinkle a hint of salt and stir. Set the scallions aside while you make the patties.
Slice four 1-ounce slices of brie, about 1/8 of an inch thick, with the rinds removed (optional). I used a 14-ounce round of brie, cut the slices from the middle, then cut each slice in half so it would fit in the center of the patty.
Toast the buns in a hot pan, adding a little butter, if you like. Or you can toast them plain.
And now, I will likely create an entire debate on what constitutes the best meat for a hamburger. See, I never buy ground beef that is less than 90% lean. I like the leaner ground because to me, it has more of a sirloin flavor. But leaner ground beef can make for a tough and dry patty if you are not careful.
Here’s a tip:
I learned a trick for making patties from lean ground beef by soaking my hands in ice water before handling the meat, and then handling it as little as possible. The issue is that the heat from your hands melts the fat in the ground beef. And over-handling it packs the crumbled meat and melted fat into a dense and dry hockey puck. So, I always shape my patties when the ground beef is cold and after I have soaked my hands in ice water. It REALLY makes a difference.
Since the press is shaping the meat for this burger, I did not chill my hands, but did make sure the ground beef was chilled.
In a large bowl, season the ground beef with salt and pepper to taste. You can always pinch a bit off and microwave it to test for seasoning, then adjust accordingly.
Then separate the meat into 4 equal sections.
Take one section and break it into two parts, with one just slightly larger than the other. Place the slightly larger part in a stuffed burger press, and apply pressure until it is evenly spread and going up the side of the press. Careful not to make it too thin on the bottom or your brie will leak out.
Add the slices of brie into the center of the bottom of the patty (note how cutting the 1-ounce slice in half made for a better fit).
Then spoon some scallion in olive oil into the center.
Cover with the other, slightly smaller part of the quarter portion and press to flatten and seal.
You should get something that looks like this.
I use my hands to press gently against the vertical sides to make sure I get a good seal between the top and bottom layers of the patty.
Repeat with the remaining hamburger portions. I find it easier to stack them with some foil or plastic wrap in between. It helps them maintain their shape.
Cook the patties on a grill pre-heated to medium high. Place the patties gently on the grates and allow them to sit untouched until flipping. I cooked mine about 5 minutes per side for a burger cooked to medium.
Then dress your burgers.
In keeping with the flavor profile, I like some thin slices of sweet onion and some beautiful, mildly peppery baby arugula. And mayonnaise. No ketchup. No mustard. Just mayo. To me, that is the best way to experience this burger. But hey, that’s my preference. If you want to go traditional with lettuce and tomato, this is your stuffed hamburger. Go to town! It is important that your food be what you like.
Look at that beautiful, juicy, medium burger!
You can just barely make out the gooey brie and the bright green of the scallions. I told you, no shock and awe. Until you bite into it, that is. That little layer of cheese and scallions may be hard to see, but it is NOT hard to taste.
The amazing beefiness of a well-seared burger and the luscious and tangy savoriness (I am so making that a word!) of the brie and scallions. Oh my…
It’s worth it, people! Give it a shot!
- 1½ pounds ground beef (90% - 93% lean), cold
- 4 hamburger buns
- 3 scallions
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 1-ounce slices of brie
- Thinly slice the scallions into a small bowl and toss with the olive oil and a small dash of salt.
- In a bowl, season the ground beef with salt and pepper to taste. Pinch off a small amount and microwave to test for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
- Toast your hamburger buns on a hot pan.
- Separate the ground beef into 4 equal sections.
- Break one of the sections into 2 parts, one part slightly larger than the other.
- Press the slightly larger section into the bottom of a stuffed hamburger press until it is even and there is hamburger up the sides. Take care not to press so that the meat is too thin or the melted brie will leak from the middle of the burger.
- Add the brie to the center, cutting it so that the cheese fits in the middle of the patty, not up the sides.
- Spoon 2 small teaspoons of scallions in oil in the center of the patty, on top of the cheese.
- Place the remaining, slightly smaller amount of the quarter section of ground beef over the top and press to seal the patty.
- Remove the patty from the press and gently apply pressure to the vertical sides to finish sealing the top and bottom of the patty together.
- Repeat with the remaining 3 sections of ground beef.
- Cook the patties on a grill pre-heated to medium high.
- Place the patties gently on the grates and allow them to sit untouched until flipping. Cook to desired doneness (5 minutes per side for a burger cooked to medium), keeping in mind that these are thicker and might take longer.
- Dress to taste and serve.
Serving suggestions include mayo for the buns, thinly sliced sweet onions and fresh baby arugula. Or you can dress and serve to taste.