Big Bacon Cheeseburger with Homemade Pickles

Cottonworth Classic Cuvée is a stunning English sparkling wine, crisp and fresh to start with and becoming soft and creamy in the mouth. When you’ve got a bottle of bubbly this good, you could whip up an exquisite culinary masterpiece to go with it – but there’s something fabulously indulgent about combining sparkling wine with something a bit dirty like this big fat burger. A juicy beef patty is topped with melted mature cheddar and thick slices of crispy belly pork (a serious upgrade on standard bacon rashers). Quick homemade pickles are deliciously tangy and stop the whole thing being too rich.

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Ingredients

Makes 2 burgers

  • 2 good-quality beef burgers
  • A couple of slices of pork belly
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • Smoked paprika
  • Mature cheddar
  • 2 brioche burger buns
  • Rocket
  • Your choice of condiments
For the pickles:
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 80ml white wine vinegar
  • 200ml water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • A pinch of sugar

A note on ingredients: you could, of course, make your own burgers, but since you can buy such good ones from a proper butcher, I’ve chosen to spend a little time upgrading the trimmings instead.

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Method

  1. First, make your pickles – they need about half an hour in the fridge. Use a potato peeler or a mandolin to cut the cucumber into fine ribbons. Mix the salt and sugar with the vinegar and water until dissolved. Cram the cucumber ribbons into a big jar, pour in enough of the vinegar mixture to fill it all the way up, and put in the fridge (you can keep them longer if you like, and the flavours will develop further).
  2. Next, prepare the pork belly – slice horizontally to make slabs about 5 mm thick. Mix together a good pinch of salt and freshly-ground black pepper, and a tablespoonful of smoked paprika, and rub it all over the slices.
  3. Heat a splash of olive oil in a frying pan and add the slices of pork belly to sizzle. Meanwhile, in another frying pan (an ovenproof one if possible) fry the beef burgers with a little more olive oil, until beautifully browned on all sides.
  4. Next, cut the cheddar into thin slices and lay on top of the burgers so it hangs over the edges all the way around. Then put the frying pan with the burgers under the grill to melt the cheese, keeping a close eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  5. Finally, assemble the burgers. Spread the bottom buns with your condiments of choice – mayo, ketchup, burger relish or whatever you fancy. Top with rocket and your cucumber pickles. Lay a lovely cheesy burger on top of the vegetables, and finish each one with a couple of slices of belly pork and the top bun.
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