Burgers are great any time of year, not just summer BBQs. This recipe from Darina Allen, Ireland’s best-known food ambassador, shows just how versatile they can be.

Darina says:

“The secret of really good beefburgers is the quality of the mince, it doesn’t need to be an expensive cut but it is essential to use freshly minced beef. A small percentage of fat in the mince will make the burgers sweet and juicy – between 20–25 per cent. One or two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, ¼ teaspoon of chilli flakes, 1–2 tablespoons of sambal oelek (a spicy chilli paste), 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, 1–2 teaspoons of ground cumin or coriander can be added according to your taste but the recipe below gives a delicious basic burger. If you’re looking to eat less but better meat, try the variation with mushrooms – you’ll never go back…”



  • 15g (½oz) butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 75g (3oz) onions, finely chopped (optional)
  • 450g (1lb) freshly minced beef – flank, hump or shin would be perfect
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil

TO SERVE (optional)

  • burger or brioche buns
  • lettuce
  • sliced ripe tomatoes
  • sliced red onion
  • crispy bacon
  • avocado slices or a dollop of Guacamole
  • fried onions
  • roast or piquillo peppers
  • kimchi, pickled slaw or pickles
  • spicy mayo, spicy tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, hot sauce, bacon jam or relish of your choice


  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan, toss in the onions if using, cover and sweat over low heat for 5–6 minutes until soft but not coloured. Set aside to get cold.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the beef mince with the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Then add the cooled onions and mix well. Fry off a tiny bit of the mixture in the pan to check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  3. With wet hands, shape the mixture into four burgers, or more depending on the size you require. Chill until needed.
  4. Cook to your taste in a little oil in a medium-hot frying or griddle pan, turning once. For rare, cook for 2 minutes on each side, for medium 3 minutes and for well done 4 minutes. If you’re cooking the burgers in batches, make sure to wash and dry the pan between batches. Burgers can plump up in the centre while being cooked; to avoid this, make an indentation in the centre of each raw burger with your thumb.

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**Always check the ingredients of any food you’re cooking with to make sure it doesn’t contain something you or your child should avoid.

How to cook

by Darina Allen is published by Kyle Books.
Photography by Nassima Rothacker.