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Eating For Life | A good-for-you gourmet burger

Portabella mushroom and goat cheese gussy up lean ground beef.

By JILL WENDHOLT SILVA

Editor’s note: This column was originally published June 11, 2008.

Does anybody really need two all-beef patties?

Portion-conscious carnivores might want to consider swapping the second slab for a soul-satisfying slice of earthy portabella mushroom featured in The Star’s Beef and ’Bella Burger.

Introduced to consumers in the ’80s, portabellas were a clever marketing ploy to sell overgrown cremini. But the meaty mushrooms continue to grow in popularity because of their pleasing flavor, one scientists describe as “umami,” a fifth element of taste.

Mushrooms have long been used to boost the immune system, but scientists have discovered they contain selenium, which helps protect against prostate cancer. As one of the few vegetable sources of protein, they contain some antioxidants not found in other produce.

To top it all off, our gourmet burger features the luxurious tang of goat’s milk cheese and a whole-wheat bun.

• Storage tip: Mushrooms keep for up to a week in the refrigerator. Keep in the original packaging or a paper sack until ready to use. Never wash mushrooms; clean with a soft brush or wipe with damp paper towel just before using.

Beef and ’Bella Burgers

Makes 4 servings

4 medium portabella mushrooms (3 1/2 to 4 inches in diameter)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup reduced-sodium beef broth

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

8 ounces lean ground beef (about 90 percent lean; ground round)

1/2 cup goat’s milk cheese crumbles with basil and roasted garlic

4 lettuce leaves

4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

Preheat grill to medium-high or allow coals to burn down to white ash.

Trim stem from mushrooms. With the tip of a spoon, gently scrape away gills. Brush mushrooms on all sides lightly with olive oil.

Combine beef broth, garlic and pepper. Place mushrooms on hot grill, gill side down, and grill over direct heat in covered grill, about 5 minutes or until lightly browned on edges. Brush mushrooms frequently with beef broth mixture while grilling. Turn mushrooms, gill-side up. Brush with beef broth mixture and grill in covered grill 3 minutes. Spoon about 2 tablespoons goat cheese into the cavity of each mushroom. Grill in covered grill, 5 to 7 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and hot through.

Meanwhile, shape beef into 4 very thin patties, about 4 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. Grill patties quickly over direct hot heat about 3 minutes per side, or until meat thermometer registers 160 degrees, brushing frequently with beef broth mixture.

Place lettuce on bottom of toasted buns. Place grilled mushroom, gill-side up, on lettuce. Top each mushroom with about 2 tablespoons chopped tomatoes. Top with beef and remaining bun.

Per serving, including olive oil: 288 calories (27 percent from fat), 9 grams total fat (4 grams saturated), 15 milligrams cholesterol, 37 grams carbohydrates, 17 grams protein, 291 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber.

Per serving, without olive oil: 258 calories (19 percent from fat), 6 grams total fat (4 grams saturated), 15 milligrams cholesterol, 37 grams carbohydrates, 17 grams protein, 291 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber.

To reach Jill Wendholt Silva, call 816-234-4347 or send email to jsilva@kcstar.com.

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