Baked Meatball Hamburger with Giardiniera

- 200g Pork Mince - 200g Beef or Veal Mince - 1 Can Italian Tomatoes - Tomato Paste - 1 small Onion - 2 cloves Garlic - 1/2 cup Fresh Breadcrumbs - 2 Egg Yolks - Fresh Marjoram - Fresh Chopped Parsley - Worcestershire Sauce - 1 ball Fresh Mozzarella - 4 Hamburger Buns - Olive Oil - Giardiniera (Italian Pickled Vegetables)(to serve) - Olives and Sundried Tomatoes (to serve) - Parmesan & Chili Fries (to serve)(see my other recipe)
There are some days when you just get a craving for hamburgers and for me, today is one of them. This Italian-inspired hamburger is something a little different to your standard ground beef cheeseburger but it is very, very delicious. I find that combining different ground meats makes for a much more interesting hamburger. If I'd had any on hand I might have been tempted to add some duck meat or confit to the mix too. 1. Dice the onions and finely chop the garlic. Saute in a saucepan with some fresh marjoram until transparent. Reserve half the onion and garlic in a separate bowl and add the can of tomatoes to the remaining onion in the saucepan. Season with salt and pepper, add one teaspoon of tomato paste and simmer covered for half an hour. 2. To the reserved onion add in the meat, some finely chopped parsley, the breadcrumbs (just a couple of slices of white bread, crusts off and pulsed in a food processor), egg yolks and a dash of Worcestershire Sauce. I use the yolks only as it makes for a rich and delicious hamburger. Using whites tends to dry it out a bit. Mix well, season with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper and form into very thick hamburger patties the same diameter as the hamburger buns. I usually leave the patties for about 30 minutes so that all the flavours come together, but it's not really necessary. 3. Heat some more oil in an oven-safe frypan and brown the patties on both sides. Either transfer the patties to small oven-safe tray or if the pan can fit in your oven just pour over the hot tomato sauce, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 180C. While the "meatballs" are cooking, you can prepare the Parmesan and Chili Fries (see separate recipe). 4. After 30 minutes, uncover the meatballs and top each one with a couple of thick slices of fresh mozzarella. Return to the oven for a further 5 minutes while you toast the buns. The cheese will melt gloriously over the whole hamburger (not shown very well in the photo so the next time I make this I'll take a better shot). It really does look amazing when you pull the tray out of the oven and there are 4 perfect patties swimming in a rich and flavourful tomato sauce and covered with melted fresh mozarella. Toast the buns under the grill until browned on both sides. 5. Top each bun with a meatball hamburger, making sure to scoop up the the cheese and sauce with it. Serve with the giardiniera, olives, sundried tomatoes and Parmesan and Chili Fries. I like the flavour of these just as is, without any other condiments or toppings. I couple of nice butter lettuce leaves go quite nicely but I would recommend leaving it at that. It doesn't really need mustard or mayonnaise or any other salad ingredients to detract from the taste of the meatball. It's quite rich but the piquancy of the Giardiniera is a good foil for the richness. But of course, don't eat this every day... Makes 4 medium-sized burgers.