At our work Christmas party, we had the best seats in the house. Not front row to hear the speeches. Not even the seats overlooking the dance floor, ready to criticise the first person who dared to dance in front of their colleagues. If you can't tell, I'm a hopelessly uncoordinated dancer who reacts with pathetic jealousy every time she sees someone in their own world, happily dancing as if no one is watching. I'm watching alright. I'm watching and judging. Totes well-adjusted.
Nope, our Christmas party posse was next to the kitchen door. As soon as any food left the pass we would appear out of nowhere with our hands out. Tiny buckets of fish and chips, sushi, little dumplings and of course, mini burgers all made it no more that five metres from the kitchen before we'd decimated the platters.
It seems you can't go to a function these days without the ol' mini burger being rolled out. The problem is it's normally dry and mealy - overcooked into oblivion. Really, a good burger should be cooked to medium, medium-rare. But with a patty that small, it's really hard to keep them moist.
I knew I'd succumb and serve them at our engagement party: I couldn't avoid Matt's favourite food in the world. But if they were coming out of my kitchen, they'd be made from the best ingredients to give them a fighting chance of being tasty.
First things first: the patty. After making the manly cake for Jacquie's partner Rich, they presented me with possibly the best gift ever: a voucher for my butcher, Skinner and Hackett. I went ahead and bought a whole bunch of Heston burgers and divvied them up to make teeny tiny little burgers. They were previously a mix of Black Angus and Wagyu. But more recently, they've upped the meaty ante and have gone the full Wagyu - and there will be no complaints from these quarters. The finished product is rich, intense and full of flavour. Pretty fancy for a little burger.
Next on the agenda was the bun. A good burger has a brioche bun. If you can't tell by now, I'm absolutely obsessed with brioche. Sweet, savoury, morning, noon or night. It's Briochetown 'round these parts. I used the Philippa Sibley method of brioche and it paid off big time. These are soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside. A smattering of sesame seeds on top completed that burgery look.
Honestly, there's not much more to a mini burger than those two elements, a slice of cheese and a dab of tomato sauce. They're too small to load up with heaps of ingredients and as with any appetiser, you want to be able to eat it in a couple of bites. These guys meet that brief and go one step further by matching well with that crisp beer you're inevitably drinking.
The one thing that makes these perfect party food? The naff little bamboo skewer holding them together. It just ain't a party without decorative skewers. It's the little things, right?
500g minced beef, shaped into 3cm round patties
Brioche dough, baked in mini buns
250g comte cheese
Preheat barbecue for at least 20 minutes. Cook burgers for around 2-3 minutes on each side, and remove to rest for 2 minutes.
Slice buns open and smear with a teaspoon or so of tomato sauce. Top with burger and a slice of comte cheese. Sandwich close with the bun and secure with a skewer.