I spend, what some may consider, an unhealthy amount of time thinking about food, and how to make kosher versions of unkosher favorites. As Summertime approaches, I have been thinking a lot of about: hamburgers! Or perhaps more accurately, how absolutely mouth-watering delicious a cheeseburger looks. Alas, kashrut.
There is no way to recreate a kosher cheeseburger, and I simply don’t count soy cheese on top of a beef burger as a viable option. But I did want to explore a more creative way to make an amazing kosher burger.
Last week I wrote about making burgers for Shabbat and topping them with The Pioneer Woman’s Onion Strings. But as I was prepping my ingredients, I decided to shift strategy. I called my husband, who graciously stopped by our favorite butcher to grab a bag of chicken skin for me to whip up a batch of gribenes!
I know, gribenes is not healthy. It is far from heart-friendly, or waist-friendly. And I don’t advocate for making it more than once or twice a year max. But it is delicious. A Jewish version of pork rinds I always like to say.
How to make gribenes? Cut chicken skin into medium size strips. I don’t like cutting them too small, I like a larger piece of skin to crunch on. Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add a scant tsp of oil or chicken fat (schmaltz) into the pan. Add chicken skin and saute 20-25 minutes, scraping frequently with spatula or wooden spoon to avoid the skin sticking or burning.
When skin is a deep brown and appears crispy, remove with slotted spoon and place onto a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt.
So what did I decide should go on the ultimate kosher burger? Iceberg lettuce for a refreshing crunch, avocado for richness, spicy mayo, grilled pastrami and gribenes. And the combination of creamy, salty, crispy and spicy was the perfect way to enjoy a cheese-less burger. My husband gobbled his up so fast I barely noticed he ate it!
I am usually my own harshest critic, but even I had to admit: I had created a masterpiece, kosher or not.
Hope you enjoy as much as we did!
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 avocado, sliced
2 cups shredded lettuce
8 slices thinly sliced pastrami
3/4 cup gribenes
For spicy mayo:
1/2 cup mayonaise
2 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp sriracha or hot sauce
1 Tbsp horseradish
1 tsp spicy brown mustard
Divide beef into four equal parts. Use food scale if you want to be exact. Form meat into four patties and lay out on a platter.
In a small bowl, mix together salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Sprinkle liberally on one side of burgers.
Heat a grill pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place burgers seasoning side down. Cook 5 minutes on first side. While burgers are cooking, sprinkle the other side with seasoned salt.
Flip burgers and cook another 3-4 minutes for medium burgers. Another 5-6 minutes for more well-done burgers. While cooking burgers, grill slices of pastrami for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until crispy. Remove from heat and place on paper towel to remove and excess grease.
To make the spicy mayo, whisk together mayo, ketchup, hot sauce, horseradish and mustard,
To assemble burgers, spread around 1-2 tsp of spicy mayo on each side of bun. Place shredded iceberg on bottom bun. Place burger on top of iceberg.
Top burger with grilled pastrami, avocado and gribenes. Place bun on top.
Bon Apetit Magazine recently featured variations on deviled eggs that included a recipe for bacon deviled eggs which got me thinking about: how to make a more Jewish version!?
Shortly after reading through the recipes, I was munching on some crunchy gribenes from 2nd Avenue Deli in New York, and it came to me: deviled eggs with chicken fat and gribenes could be the perfect Jewey alternative!
So what is gribenes? I always describe this traditional Eastern European food as a “Jewish pork rind,” which Wikipedia agrees with. Never made it before? The Shiksa in the Kitchen has a great step-by-step schmaltz and gribenes guide.
1 dozen large eggs
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp chicken fat (schmaltz)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 batch gribenes
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Place eggs in single layer in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and when water comes to a full boil, cover and remove from heat. Let eggs stand in water for 15-17 minutes. Allow eggs to cool.
Peel shells from eggs carefully, and cut eggs in half lengthwise. Remove egg yolks.
In a small mixing bowl mash egg yolks, chicken fat, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Add egg yolk mixture to piping bag or plastic bag with the tip cut off, and pipe into egg white halves.
Garnish with pieces of crispy gribenes and fresh parsley.