Now here’s a mouthful, in more ways than one.
David Hodson, chef de cuisine at Yountville’s Bouchon, tells this story: When they decided to add a burger to Bouchon’s late night menu, he thought of ways to add a French touch to the all-American favorite.
The result is the Bouchon Bistro Bourguignon Burger.
Here is how Hodson makes it: First, he takes certified Angus beef and dices it with bacon. Then it’s marinated over night in red wine. The next day it is ground and sautéed — not grilled — to order. “We wanted it to be a little more French,” Hodson explained of the decision to grill.
Next, they take rolls baked at Bouchon Bakery next door, split and and toast them in “a little butter” and spread them with house-made onion jam.
The burger is then topped with Gruyère cheese, an onion ring, and roasted mushrooms.
For a final french flourish, it comes garnished with cornichon on a spear.
He tried his burger out on diners before it went on the summer night menu on June 21. “We got really great feedback,” he reported.
Hodson, who has worked for the Thomas Keller Restaurant group since graduating from culinary school nine years ago, took his present post seven months ago.
His philosophy of food: “I like to cook a little bit of everything.”
Burger mania in France
There is a precedent for burgers à la française. Henry Samuel reporting from Paris for the Telegraph, reported last March that sales of<&rdpEm> le burger </&rdpEm>is outselling the French classic jambon buerre, ham and butter on a baguette.
“New figures suggest the decidedly un-French burger is served in 75 per cent of French eateries from the most humble fast food outlets to top-notch restaurants,” Samuel wrote, “and 80 per cent of these say it has become their top-selling dish, according to a new study. Last year, the French chomped their way through 1.19 billion burgers, an 11 per cent rise on the previous year, while ‘le jambon beurre’ fell to 1.23 billion.”
He also quoted Bernard Boutboul, head of Gira Conseil, the food consultancy behind the study as saying, “Burger mania (in France) is unstoppable.”
But can any of them match the Bourguignon Burger? Doubt it. Diners can sample chef Hodson’s burger between 10 p.m. and midnight at Bouchon Bistro, 6534 Washington St., Yountville. For those inclined to try to recreate it at home, he’s shared the recipe for Red Wine Onion Jam.<&rdpStrong>Red Wine Onion Jam</&rdpStrong>
<&rdpStrong>Chef David Hodson </&rdpStrong>
<&rdpStrong>Bouchon Bistro </&rdpStrong>
<&rdpStrong>7 ounces red onion, finely chopped</&rdpStrong>
<&rdpStrong>7 ounces button mushrooms, finely chopped</&rdpStrong>
<&rdpStrong>4 ounces red wine</&rdpStrong>
<&rdpStrong>4 ounces red wine vinegar</&rdpStrong>
<&rdpStrong>1/2 cup sugar</&rdpStrong>
<&rdpStrong>2 teaspoons salt</&rdpStrong>
<&rdpStrong>6 tablespoons honey</&rdpStrong>
Combine all ingredients in a rondeau or other wide, shallow pan for quick reduction. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often to prevent sticking, until mixture is thick and jammy. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Melt a small amount of unsalted butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Toast the cut sides of the hamburger bun. Set aside.
Add a little canola oil to a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season the burger meat with salt and cook until both sides are brown. Reduce heat to medium and add a tablespoon of butter, a sprig of thyme, and a clove of garlic to the pan. Baste the burger while continuing to cook to desired internal temperature (we prefer medium).
Put two slices of gruyere on the burger and melt under a broiler. Spread a layer of red wine onion jam on the top and bottom buns. Place burger on top of jam, followed by a cluster of roasted hen of the woods mushrooms and an onion ring. Top with other half of bun. Place two cornichons on a skewer and insert into top of bun. Serve with French fries.