"Hey dad, wanna come over for lunch? We're making mushroom burgers." Radio silence. That's weird. Usually, an invitation for free food and the company of his firstborn is met with gleeful enthusiasm.
"Don't worry, it's a beef burger, with lots of mushrooms, you'll love it." Bingo, that was it. "Okay, sure! We'll be right over."
It used to be, "mushroom burger" just meant a hamburger with lots of mushrooms piled on top. These days it usually refers to a burger in which a portobello mushroom takes the place of the patty.
Nothing wrong with that, but it wasn't what my father wanted. A grilled beef patty with melted Swiss, and slathered with sautéed shiitakes and onions? Hard to resist.
So, this one was a big hit with my dad, and with my mom too, for that matter. The things that make it a step up from your typical retro mushroom burger are the dried mushroom powder mixed into the ground meat, intensifying the mushroom taste, and using shiitakes for the topping, which are highly flavorful mushrooms.
You can easily skip the dried mushrooms if you don't have any on hand, and you can easily substitute button mushrooms, or any other mushrooms, for the shiitakes if you want.
What Dried Mushrooms Work Best in Mushroom Swiss Burgers
Any commonly found dried mushrooms work in this recipe. Many mainstream grocery stores have at least one of these varieties.
- Dried shiitakes
- Dried porcinis
- Dried morels
- Dried black trumpets
- Dried mixed mushrooms
For a good price, try an Asian market, particularly for dried shiitakes.
Tips for Making Great Beef Patties
To grill the best burgers, follow these tips for making the patties.
- Use an 80/20 mix of ground beef. The ratio of fat in the mix adds flavor and keeps the burgers from drying out on the grill.
- Grind the dried mushrooms well, into a fine powder.
- Do not overwork the meat. Mix the ground meat with the other ingredients until they are just incorporated.
- Make all the patties the same size.
- Put a dimple in the middle of each patty, leaving the outer 1/2-inch of the patty a little taller than the inside.
- Resist the urge to press the patties down on the grill or you risk losing precious juices that add flavor and moisture.
Can These Burgers Be Frozen and Reheated?
Freeze fully cooked burgers, without toppings, for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove top in a skillet over medium high heat or in the oven at 350°F until just heated through. Note that freezing the burgers may alter their consistency.
No Grill? No Problem. Here's How to Pan Fry Burgers
Yes, you can add the pre-made patties to a skillet and pan fry, but follow this trick for the best pan-fried burgers.
- Preheat a heavy pan—cast iron works best—to medium high heat.
- Drizzle some olive oil in the pan.
- Instead of forming the burger patties, add balls of a quarter to a third of a pound portions of the mixture, one at a time.
- When beef starts to sizzle top it with foil and then smash the beef into a then patty using a smaller pan or skillet.
- Repeat with other portions.
- Cook as directed in Step 5, just on the stove top instead of the grill.
Note: If the pan is not large enough to cook all burgers at once, cook them in batches. Crowding the burgers in the pan will result in steaming them instead of frying them.
Perfect Sides for Mushroom Swiss Burgers
- Black Bean Salad
- Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Napa Cabbage Picnic Salad
- Homemade Ginger Ale
- Caramel Brownies
Grilled Mushroom Swiss Burger
We call for fresh shiitake mushrooms to top the burger, but only because they are so much more flavorful than regular button mushrooms. Feel free to use whatever mushroom you want—buttons, cremini, morels, etc. You'll need to cut the tough stems off shiitakes, but you can include the stems of other mushrooms.
Although this recipe calls for using a grill, you can easily pan fry the burgers on your stovetop. I would recommend using a large cast iron pan for pan frying.
- 1 pound ground beef (for juicy burgers, 80/20 is good)
- 1 ounce dried mushrooms, such as porcinis or morels
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 4 to 6 slices Swiss cheese
- Burger buns
Process the dried mushrooms:
In a food processor, or a clean coffee grinder (grind some raw rice to clean out coffee grinds), grind the dry mushrooms until they're a powder. Remove any large mushroom pieces that didn't grind down, a few small pieces will be fine.
Make the burger mixture:
In a large bowl, use your clean hands to gently mix together the meat, salt, mushroom powder, black pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Mix just until everything is mostly combined. Do not overwork the meat mixture or it will become tough and meatloaf-like.
Form the patties:
Shape the meat into 3 to 4 patties, using about 1/4 to 1/3 pound pound per patty, creating a slight indentation at the centers of the patties (this will help keep the patties fairly flat when they cook, as the sides tend to contract more than the center).
Prepare the grill
Prepare your grill for high, direct heat. Place a cast iron skillet on grill grates so it heats along with the grill. (Alternatively, heat the skillet on the stovetop over high heat.)
Sauté the mushrooms, then the onions:
When the skillet is hot enough that a drop of water sizzles on contact, add the mushrooms and dry-sauté them until they release their water, about 2-3 minutes.
Add the onions and the olive oil, toss to combine and continue to sauté over high heat 1 minute. Add salt to taste and cook until the onions soften and begin to brown. Remove the skillet from heat and transfer the mushrooms to a bowl.
Grill the burgers:
Place patties on high, direct heat and cook to the desired doneness, between 5-8 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the burgers and how hot your grill is.
Add the cheese:
When the burgers are almost done, lay the Swiss cheese over them and allow the cheese to melt.
Grill the buns:
Paint the burger buns with a little olive oil and toast them on the griddle or grill grates, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Assemble the burgers:
Place a burger on a bun and top with the sautéed onions and mushroom mixture.