You might be have heard that plant-based eating is all the rage in trendy dining circles, but what if you, like, don’t want to eat plants?
You like your meat! Is that so horrible?
Maybe there is a compromise.
Several years ago, the Culinary Institute of America in partnership with the Mushroom Council came up with an idea. Swap out a a quarter to half of the the beef in a burger with umami-rich, delicious mushrooms.
Not that you’ll even notice, and who knows? You might actually prefer the change.
Restaurants around the country have taken the challenge. Here’s where to get them in the Twin Cities, and some of the creative takes on how they’re being served.
Pro tip: You can do this at home, too, and the James Beard Foundation has provided a handy film for teaching yourself the basics in your home kitchen. Check it out below.
Extra pro tip: The Blended Burger Project is also a national contest. Vote for your favorite burger online, and the winning chef will be invited to cook at the James Beard house in New York.
Now, off you go to get these blended burgers through July 31:
The Bulldog Northeast presents a burger (pictured) with marinated portabella ground with chuck and brisket, pomodoraccio (a delectable, heavily marinated tomato) aioli, roasted enoki mushroom, fontina cheese, duck bacon, and sunny egg on a mushroom-infused bun.
How did they come up with this triple mushroom threat?
“With the help of my trusty sous Christine Parra,” says chef Kevin Kraus. “We basically just jolt ideas back and forth over messenger until we stop laughing about ridiculous concepts and make it much more approachable and interesting. We have had amazing feedback from this one.”
401 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis
Get a “Shroomy Lucy” at Mercy, with a Prime Niman Ranch beef mix of brisket, sirloin, and chuck combined with mushrooms and stuffed with brie. On top: ramp mustard, watercress, and pickled ramps.
Extra special bonus: Get a gratis tap beer with every Shroomy Lucy purchase through July 31.
Chef Mike Rakun says he’s inspired by any cooking that allows him to use fresh, sustainable ingredients, so he thinks the project is fantastic. He also encourages home cooks to try it in their own kitchens.
901 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis
Red Stag Supperclub’s burger uses not beef, but Shepherd Song Farm lamb and duxelle mushrooms, Juicy Lucy-style stuffed with chevre, and finished with lamb bacon jam, charmoula (an herbaceous pesto-like) sauce, and arugula on a homemade milk bun.
“I just put all my favorite ingredients onto a burger,” says chef Sarah Master. “We got a whole lamb carcass in not too long ago and I wanted to show my cooks how to go nose-to-tail with it, so one of the things we made was lamb bacon. Then we took it a step further by making jam out of the bacon. It's pretty sweet so I thought we should cut that sweetness with a spicy charmoula and some arugula. Chevre plays nice with lamb and mushrooms, so we added that as the Juicy Lucy component for a little fun.”
509 First Ave. NE, Minneapolis
Three more blended burgers, and where to get them:
At Barbette, get a Peterson Farm Limousin and mushroom cheeseburger with charred scallion aioli and soy giardiniera.
1600 W. Lake St., Minneapolis
At Bryant-Lake Bowl, a Peterson Farms Limousin Beef and mushroom burger is topped with kimchee, gochu pickles, shredded red cabbage, and sesame mayo.
810 W. Lake St., Minneapolis
At Gigi’s Cafe, a “Forest and Field Burger” is another mushroom-beef Lucy stuffed with chopped marinated mushrooms, Wisconsin-made Butterkase cheese, and herbed compound butter, topped with red onion, butter lettuce, and porcini-fig jam, served on a Challah bun.
824 W. 36th St., Minneapolis