A couple months ago, I made a decadent meal with short ribs braised in a chile coffee sauce, and over the top mashed potatoes drenched in cream and butter. It was a comfort meal for me and some friends, not a regular occurrence, but a nice treat after a long week. About a month later, after the post bounced around the interwebs a bit, I received this email:
I read your recipe for Ancho-coffee braised ribs with interest: the idea of using coffee sort of turns me off but I wanted to see where it might go and what you might do with it. In the process I came to see that you put 1/4 cup of sugar into the mix. Serving three people this comes to over a tablespoon of sugar per person. Dan, from a culinary standpoint doing that sort of thing puts you somewhere in the eighteenth century.
I persevered and found that for the same three people you dished up some potatoes with 2 cups of fat (sorry, I meant heavy cream) and 2/3 stick of butter. That’s 2 tablespoons of butter per person, plus 2/3 of a cup of cream per person, plus one-plus tablespoon of sugar per person, plus the olive oil used to cook the veggies plus all the rich fat that comes from the beef ribs! Wow! Your beard must be shiny.
I can see that you like to cook, but urge you to consider the implications of your methodology. One can achieve as much flavor and intensity without any sugar at all, and with way less fat. In fact, with all that fat I doubt there would be much taste left of the original ingredients, ie., the beef ribs or the potatoes, to say nothing of the greatly reduced number of delicious meals that people dining on such fare will get to eat before they eat no longer.
In my own kitchen sugar is forbidden except for dessert. Flavor comes from the art of knowing how to induce it from the ingredients, ie., the art of cooking. Regarding fat, I use all I want of it and all the food needs, but to let it approach quantities that rival the main ingredients is to kill rather than to exalt. Fat and sweet are the tricks that cooks who fancy themselves chefs use to deceive the palates of the naive and the foolish and the cheap. Yeah, the cheap come in at this point because on can make inexpensive stuff that might be awful taste pretty good using these two tricks.
Discipline Dan, it’s all about discipline.
Joe B—-, chef
P—- N—–, inc
1– W——— St
Norwalk, CT 06854
WHOA!!! Calling me cheap is fine, but saying that I am slowly killing all of my friends is a bit much. My friends ask me for the pain in fact, I guess you could call me Jack Kevorkian?(this reference is 10 years late) I mean, I could refute this email in 100 different ways(braising liquid isn’t consumed, the potatoes were for 6 not 3, I don’t eat stuff like this everyday), in fact, almost every sentence is non-sence(tance). What? But instead of refuting, I decided to make a new recipe and dedicate it to Joe B—-. Hopefully you can put this one on your menu in Connecticut. Its full of chemicals, fats, and other delicious stuff your patrons could only wish to enjoy!
So step one is making boxed mac and cheese. I undercooked the pasta, then boiled it in the allotted milk, butter, and cheese powder, and added some Velveeta, all to make it more solid when it cooled off.
Make the beef real thin and wrap it around the chunks of pasta. The chunks were nice and solid cause of the way I made the mac and cheese.
A tomato and more Velveeta on top. I told you guys this burger is ridiculous.
I saw these burgers on a restaurant menu with breadcrumbs on them to emulate baked mac and cheese, but these breadcrumbs were actually totally inconsequential to the final taste or texture. They added nothing!
Some mac peeking out of the burger.
That is a lot of mac and cheese in there. Yum.
Cheesy, pasta filled, beefy, how could this be bad? It tastes like you would think it would taste, like a burger and mac and cheese! In one!
I didn’t make this up, I’ve seen it popping up on menu’s here in Boston. They usually use homemade mac and cheese, but to me, if you are making something as ridiculous as this, you have to take it to the lowest of the low. Also, I have no problem with boxed mac and cheese, so who cares?
As for the hate mail, whatever. I actually biked 23 miles the day I ate this burger. I also had a smoothie of fruit and yogurt for breakfast, and a salad for lunch.
Mac and Cheese Stuffed Burgers
- 1 box mac and cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
- Cook the box of mac and cheese to the package instructions. Put the mac and cheese back in the sauce pan and simmer for a minute so it is extra thick. Stir in the cheddar until it melts. You don't technically need the extra cheddar, but it helps the mac and cheese stay solid.
- Pour the mac and cheese mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Top with another piece of parchment and spread the mac and cheese out so it is about 3/4 of an inch thick. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Remove the mac and cheese from the fridge and cut rounds of the pasta out with a cookie cutter.
- Wrap a thin layer of beef around the pasta rounds.
- Cook the burgers being careful not to overcook or the mac and cheese will explode out. Keep an eye on them, and once you start seeing the pasta leaking out, that's when you can pull them from the grill.
- Serve on a bun with your favorite toppings. In this post, I used tomatoes with toasted breadcrumbs on top to mimic a classic baked mac and cheese.