BLT&E

1 pound ground rib-eye steak (ask your butcher to grind if you do not have a grinder at home)
1 pound fresh pork breakfast sausage, casings removed
10 strips bacon, fried, crumbled and fat reserved
1 cup diced cherry or small tomatoes, preferably a blend such as Sweet 100 and/or green grape
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon beef broth
1 cup beer, such as good lager
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 to 3 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
2 to 3 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon each: paprika, oregano, crushed red pepper, chili powder and garlic powder, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon each: celery salt and cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoons crushed sourdough breadcrumbs
6 quail eggs (available a Asian markets and online)
5 to 6 cups arugula, from 1 (5-ounce) bag or container, or as desired
6 split and buttered English muffins

In a large bowl, combine the ground rib-eye and sausage with the crumbled bacon and diced tomatoes. Add the maple syrup, broth, beer, ketchup and egg, along with reserved bacon fat. Mix gently, so as not to overwork meat. Add the spices and breadcrumbs, mixing gently until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Cover mixture and let rest in refrigerator.

In a large pan of gently simmering water, poach the quail eggs, being careful not to break yolks or overcook. Drain and set aside to cool.

Remove meat mixture from refrigerator and divide it into 12 even portions. Form each portion into a small, round patty, adding an indentation to center of 6 patties for poached quail eggs to nest.

Place a poached egg in each of indented patties, then place another patty over it to form top, gently crimping edges together so as not to crush egg and break yolk. Repeat to form 6 stuffed patties.

Prepare grill. Place burgers, top-sides down, on grill. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes. then gently flip. Cook other sides for 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside to rest.

While burgers are resting, toast the muffin halves. When toasted, remove from heat and set aside to cool a minute.

To assemble burgers, place a handful of the arugula on toasted bottoms of muffins. Place a burger on top of each mound, bottom-side down. Top each burger with other toasted muffin half. If preferred, slice in half before serving, or simply eat whole. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

— Recipe from Christopher Lucchese, Echo Park, Los Angeles.


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