Last Sunday I participated in a Burger Challenger put together by one of the two cooking groups that I belong to.  Those of you that follow MPK on Facebook already have heard the buzz. Thank you all for your kind comments! Wow what an exciting that it was!

So finally here it is, a recap of the events and how the burger came together! From the get go I knew I wanted to make a Persianized Burger. So I grabbed a pen and paper and started organizing my thoughts.

I went shopping and bought all the ingredients above. First and foremost I bought ground beef that was 85% lean.  I went to work with my ingredients and made the first trial run burger.

This fabulous looking burger was made with Gourmet mayo made with Persian Basil, also known as Holy Basil, which was inspired from a recipe that I developed and wrote about in one of my articles over at the Examiner.  I made the patty topped with crumbled feta cheese, some sumac, a mixture of diced onions and chopped parsley, a couple of slices of tomatoes, some Persian pickles, and lettuce.  Our friend Michael was visiting from out of town and he came over for lunch.  Fortunately, I had two people to give me feedback on my first test run.

The consensus was that although the burger tasted good, there was way too much going on. Both Michael and The Sous Chef suggested simplifying.

I went back to the drawing board. I eliminated the Gourmet Mayo and substituted it with Mast-o-Musir, yogurt with shallots.  I also substituted the lettuce with Sabzi, Persian herbs.  I made one burger with feta cheese and the other without.

This time around it was just The Sous Chef and I. Both burgers tasted good, but we both agreed that the feta cheese overpowered the rest of the ingredients… so did the Persian pickles.

On the day of the challenge I packed up all of my ingredients to go and off we went to the house where the competition would take place! There were three of us competing in the beef category. The instruction were for us to make one burger each for the judges, and then make 5 more for the rest of the attendees to taste.

The clock began ticking as soon as our burgers hit the grill! Jon, Becky, and I were in business! It was super hot that dat and the temperature rose even higher once the challenge began!

While my burger was grilling away I prepped my presentation plate on a whim. Yes, I had completely forgotten about this part of the rules of the challenge. I had to think on my feet and use what I had on hand. Jon, the host, was kind enough to lend me one of his plates! Unlike the other two contestants I did not toast my buns.  I simply spread a generous amount of Mast-o-musir on both of the buns.  Once the burger was ready I topped it with some sumac, the onion and parsley mixture, two slices of tomatoes, and a generous handful of herbs.

Wow that burger looked appetizing! Off we went to the judges’ table.

Here are the three burgers sitting in front of the three judges. Mine is the first one, Becky’s is in the middle followed by Jon’s.

Each burger was cut into four pieces and each judge was given one quarter of each burger. Each judge had a paper where they wrote down their scores and also took notes as we each presented our burgers and the ingredients used to make them.

This is Becky’s burger. It was simply delicious! She made a Gourmet mayo by blending roasted peppers and the mayo together. Her patty was made of beef and chorizo. The patty was topped with cheese, if memories serves right it was mozzarella. On top of the patty and cheese Becky had made this incredibly delicious slow cooked onions with jalapeño. She had placed the onions along with slices of jalapeño on top. When you bit into her burger you were hit with various delicious levels of flavor. The onions were sweet while the jalapeño was spicy. As soon as The Sous Chef gave me a bight of Becky’s burger, we both knew that I had some serious competition!

Jon’s burger is one hell of a burger too. Oh my! Are you ready for this? Here it goes: a homemade beef paddy which had Brie cheese hidden in it, topped with a pancetta medallion,  slow cooked onions, arugula, and I believe there was mustard and ketchup involved as well. Yummy!

In the end much to my amazement and surprise my Persian Burger won with 28 points our of 30!! The score was based on the following: taste:15 points and presentation: 13 points.

Much to my amazement I had one point more than Becky. It was fiercely close!

I had such a blast participating in this challenge. It was fun coming up with this recipe and I hope that many of you out there will consider making it. One of the judges expressed that the Persian Burger taste so healthy and light. She really liked the combination of the herbs as well and how they all went well together.  I was beaming with pride inside because to me that is the epidome of Persian Cuisine.

But more than anything, it was exciting for me to make a burger that was created by thinking outside the box while at the same time introducing and sharing the flavors that I grew up with. This burger is truly like nothing you have tasted before!!

So here is the recipe for the one and only Persian Burger!

Ingredients (serves 6 burgers)

2 lb ground beef (85% lean)
2 medium onions
3 tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh parsley, packed
1 small shallot, fine diced
1 16oz tub Lebni
Sabzi, Persian herbs
6 hamburger buns
Salt & Pepper

Cut one of the onions in half. Reserve one half and grade the other half along with the other onion in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper.  Add ground beef and mix well until all well incorporated. Cover bowl and place in the fridge for at least one hour.

Mix fine diced shallots with Lebni to make Mast-o-musir. Place back into the Lebni container or another container and refrigerate. The more the Mast-o-musir rests the better it tastes.

Dice the remaining half onion. Rough chop parsley and mix with onion.

Divide ground beef mixture into 6 patties. They should each weight between 7 and 8 ounces.  Place on a hot grill and cook for five minute or so. Then carefully flip and cook for another 3 minutes or so, or until cooked to your liking.

To learn how to make and cook a perfect burger please check the post How to Make & Grill (or Pan Fry) a Perfect Burger

Spread mast-o-musir on both the bottom and top bun.  Place beef patty on top of the bottom bun, sprinkle with a nice amount of sumac.  Add some of the onion and parsley mixture and 2 slices of tomatoes. Sprinkle the top of the tomatoes with a bit more sumac. Top with a generous handful of Persian herbs. Place the top bun on top and serve!

The idea here is to bite into your burger and taste all the different flavors! YUM!