When the United States mens international team headed to their 3rd World Cup finals in 1950 after a 16 year absence, things were not looking good for them. With a team comprising part-time players who had lost had lost their last seven international matches by the combined score of 45–2, they were due to play England’s all-star team generally considered the best in the world at that time.
The only goal of the game came in 38 minutes however when Joe Gaetjens, a Haitian, scored for the US with a diving header to deflect a long driven shot past the English keeper.
England’s star player Stanley Matthews who missed the match through injury later stated- “The game was purgatory to watch from the stands, come the final whistle, I thanked my lucky stars I hadn’t been part of it.”
For my US World Cup dinner I’ll be making an American icon which sums up images of the Wild West, drive-in movies and Elvis- the Cheeseburger.
I make burgers to this recipe quite often. I’ve tried all sorts of burger recipes- the ones where you add egg, breadcrumbs, onions, chilli, and so on, and so forth, but none I’ve made have been as good as this simple version.
The key to this burger’s success is the balance of flavours- the meatiness of the burger is offset by the sweetness of the other ingredients, so it’s important to use the correct tomatoes, lettuce, onion, etc, and I find it goes really well with a brioche as opposed to a regular burger bun. I’m having it with a ‘Pabst Blue Ribbon’, my beer of choice when I lived in the States.
INGREDIENTS (per burger)
100g lean steak mince (per burger)
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 slice gruyere cheese
1 Brioche bun toasted
1 slice vine ripened tomato
½ sweet onion sliced
Baby gem lettuce, broken into leaves and washed.
Dill pickle slices
INSTRUCTIONS (per burger)
1. Put mince into bowl, add plenty of salt and pepper, and then work firmly with hands til the mince is approaching a paste consistency
2. Form mince into a patty- I make mine pretty thin- just less than 1cm thick.
3. Sauté the sliced onions over a low heat until they soften, but stop before they brown. Put to one side. This sweetens the flavor of the onion.
4. Fry the patty in a griddle pan over a medium heat. Cook to personal taste.
5. When burger is done as you like it, take it off the heat and let it rest for a minute.
6. Light toast the brioche under the grill (I actually use the griddle pan)
7. Prepare your bun and appropriate garnishes.
8. Assemble the burger thus- bottom ½ bun, cheese, tomato, dill pickle, ketchup, mustard, mayo, burger, onions, lettuce, and top ½ bun.