Have you ever had a worried smile frozen on your face?
It happened to me last night when my husband looks at me and tells me he is going to cook dinner.
In my mind, I was going through our fridge and all the quick options, trying to find one that was going to satisfy everyone and be quick enough to make that we wouldn’t be starving for too long since we had just come back from a birthday party and we were all pretty worn out. I had baked for two straight days for it and then spent two days with our family attending the double birthday extravaganza so I wasn’t truly interested in cooking – you know, it was one of those days.
“Your tired and need to relax,” he tells me.
“I will cook dinner!” He starts to Google things he could make with ground beef.
He loves Google.
No, really, really, loves it!!
So after a few minutes, he announces that he is going to make mystery burgers.
Basically, that smile freezes on my face in that “oh,…. really?” and quickly trying to think of a way to talk him out of it, but allow him full control while knowing that it was going to be awhile before we would be having dinner. Oh, yeah, and absolutely terrified at what on earth he would put in the “mystery burger.”
He wanders into the kitchen with a little notebook that he jotted down a few notes in and all we heard from that point was a little rustling, a couple questions that went like this “where do I find,…. OH! Nevermind! I found it!” and bringing me things out of the fridge or pantry and asking me if one thing works for another or if this is what the recipe means, etc.
“We can just order pizza if this is terrible!”
Oh boy, not instilling much faith I tell ya, but I let him carry on…
It was fun for him and it gave me a chance to relax a bit and it wound up being a really great meal!
Basically, he found a bread recipe and a separate recipe for “mystery meat” and combined them in his own creation! He very resourcefully used things that were in our fridge without a purpose and in the pantry, waiting to be made into something delicious and created a meal that anyone could be proud of!
We have a ritual after a new meal or recipe in our house where we all say if it is a “make-again” meal or not and why and this one got nods of approval while we were busy chowin’ down and got a “definitely make-again!” from all of us.
I would like to also point out that my husband made his own bread for this recipe – I am very proud of my domesticated husband! He isn’t clueless in the kitchen and can certainly make a meal but he really threw something great together on a night we were destined to just rummage through the fridge and freezer to piece together a meal or just get take-out and made “mystery burgers” that I would proudly offer as a meal to any of our friends & family!
Ingredients: adapted from Google…
- 1/2 C water, 105-110 degrees F
- 1 TBS active dry yeast
- 1 TBS sugar
- 1/2 C warm milk, 105-115 degrees F
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 – 2 1/4 C bread flour
Mystery Meat Filling:
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 TBS canola oil
- 1 TBS garlic powder
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/3 C milk
- 6 oz of cheese (grated, cut into cubes or shredded)
- up to 2 TBS yellow mustard
First, make the bread. In a large bowl, mix the warm water, yeast and sugar until just combined then let it rest for ten minutes undisturbed. Once it is foamy and appears to have doubled in volume, add the warm milk and salt. Slowly add the flour, 1/2 C at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Let the dough sit for about five minutes to fully hydrate.
Once all the flour is incorporated, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes until the dough is firm and smooth. Lightly coat the inside of the bowl with spray oil (or a few drops of canola oil) then place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all the sides in oil. Roll the dough into a ball leave it in the bowl to proof. Lightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it in a warm place for at least 45 minutes to one hour until it has doubled in size.
While the dough is rising, prepare the mystery meat.
Brown the ground beef in a large skillet. Drain the excess fat and grease from the pan then season the meat with salt and pepper.
Add the onions, cooking until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the garlic powder and milk to the mixture, stirring well to combine. Let the mixture simmer over low heat while you get the cheese. Whatever cheese you use, you need to make it small enough to easily and evenly melt into your mystery meat mixture. So if it is a block of cheese, cut it into 1/2 inch cubes or grate it, if you have pre-sliced cheese like we had, rip it into smaller shreds and add it to the meat mixture.
Depending on your taste and that of your diners, you can add the mustard directly to the meat mixture or spread the amount each person would like right onto their mystery burger while you are assembling it.
Once all of the cheese has melted, take the mystery meat filling off the heat and prepare for assembly!
Pre-heat the oven to 400F or 200 C.
Once your dough has doubled in size, turn it back out onto a lightly floured surface, punching it down and patting it out a bit. Using a bench or serrated edge knife to cut the dough into six equal parts.
Roll each ball of dough out into a 6 inch circle. Place approximately 3 TBS of the mystery meat filling in the center of each dough ball. Brush the outer rim of the dough with water then carefully pull the dough over the filling, pinching the seams to create a secure seal. It should resemble a calzone. Then gently place it on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Make sure to give each burger about once inch clearance on all sides to expand while baking.
While the oven is pre-heating, allow the burgers to proof once more about 15-20 minutes. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown then cool slightly before serving.