I confess that in the past I have been known to buy ready made burger patties at the shops. I always bought the best most expensive ones, telling myself that they were sure to be better than the el cheapo ones. In light of the recent debacle here in the UK with horsemeat having been mixed into minced beef products it makes me cringe just to think about it now . . .
Not that there is anything wrong with eating horsemeat if that is what you choose to do . . . but the important word here is "choose." I don't choose to eat horsemeat and I think it is pretty disgusting that as consumers we have been subjected to the possibility of eating it without any choice and under the guise of it being "beef," when really it isn't . . . and all in the name of producing larger profits for these big grocery chains. And as they would have you believe they were also duped . . . and I will give them the benefit of the doubt here, but really . . . somebody was not doing their job properly because it is something which just SHOULD NOT happen! It's hust plain wrong, no matter how you cut it. I think a huge lesson has been learned by everyone involved . . .
I, for one, will never buy any meat from the supermarket again unless I can be 100% sure that it is what it is said to be. One of our local Butcher's went out of business just prior to Christmas because he said he just couldn't compete with the grocery chains . . . methinks he should have stuck with it just a tad bit longer, because I think he'd be doing very well now.
Anyways, I was recently contacted by Westin Gourmet online butchers and asked if I would like to sample some of their products. Of course I said yes. I'm not stupid! And from their site everything looked pretty good from here.
Westin Gourmet have gained awards from The Observer, Consumer Taste Awards and The Guardian. The company started life providing top quality meat for restaurants. Westin Gourmet now offer this wholesale selling to the general public through their website. By selling in trade quantities Westin say they are able to provide high quality meat at reasonable prices.
From their page:
"Each of our specialist cuts are chosen to give you the juiciest, most flavoursome meat available. Our gourmet meat is unrivalled and so are our prices. You can buy your gourmet meat from us at prices that are lower than the standard meat you get from your local supermarket...
We know from experience that grass fed animals which enjoy a happy life produce the juiciest, tastiest cuts.
That is why we strive to source our meats from only the best suppliers in the industry - farmers who genuinely care about the welfare of their animals – to give you the diversity, the flavour and more importantly the quality you deserve."
A box arrived from them on my doorstep last Thursday afternoon. Everything was packed properly and perfectly chilled when it arrived. Another plus was the use by dates on each package, which were of a reasonable time length. Too often things like this arrive and you feel like beating your head against the wall because all of the use by dates are within a few days and there is no way on earth you are going to be able eat all that meat in just a few days and really . . . you want to be able to cook it fresh from fresh . . . not frozen. So this was a big plus with me.
My package contained quite a variety of things so look for my review of these products over the next week as I don't want to do it all at once. That would be overkill.
Today I'm going to tell you about their burgers as that was the first thing we decided to try. They were pretty decently sized burgers as you can tell.
It was very obvious from the packaging that Westin Gourmet take their sourcing very responsably. They can tell you via their labeling where the meat was slaughtered, which batch it came from, where it was minced, cut, etc. I cannot recall seeing that kind of information on any supermarket packet. I do know that when I go to the Butcher there is a sign on the wall saying which farm has supplied his meat for that week.
The burgers looked like a good mix of fat to lean. A juicy burger should always have a fair quantity of fat in it in order for it to be moist and succulent. Note . . . that doesn't mean gristle . . . these burgers were a nice mix, and nicely sized and cooked up beautifully.
I decided to make a special mushroom and onion topping for them . . . which I layered on both the buns and the burgers themselves along with some fine strong British cheddar . . .
Some of this went on the bottom toasted bun half . . . and then was topped with my own special burger sauce and some shredded lettuce . . .
Before being topped with the burgers, which I had also topped with some of the mushroom and onion mixture and some more cheddar . . . then grilled just so that the cheese melted down the burger . . .
in the most delicious way as you can see . . . doesn't that look good???
But would they live up to what they looked like???
I have to say, no word of a lie . . . these were the tastiest burgers I have ever eaten. There was no gristle at all . . . they were just moist and delicious . . . no fillers, nothing in there that shouldn't have been in there. We both gave them 10 our of 10 for being the tastiest burgers we have ever had the pleasure to eat. Now that's a tasty mouthful!
*Special Sauced Mushroom Cheese Burgers*
Makes 4 servings
The best burgers you could ever want to eat. Lovely sauce. Flavourful toppings. Delicious altogether!
4 TBS no fat mayonnaise
2 TBS Heinz tomato ketchup with roasted garlic, thyme and honey
(alternately you can use 2 TBS regular ketchup and 1 tsp sweet chili sauce)
For the mushroom onion topping:
1 TBS butter
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 pound of white button mushrooms, trimmed and finely chopped
125 ml white wine (1/2 cup)
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
4 quality beef burgers
salt, pepper and garlic powder if desired
strong white cheddar cut into 8 (1/4-inch thick) slices large enough to cover a bun
and a burger
4 burger buns, split and toasted
shredded lettuce (optional)
First make the mushroom and onion topping. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onions. Cook, stirring frequently, for about five minutes or until they soften. Tip in the mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes, then add the white wine and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to the boil, then cook until all of the liquid has evaporated, stirring often. Remove from the heat and scrape into a bowl. Set aside while you cook the burgers.
Wipe the pan out and spray lightly with a low fat cooking spray. Add the beef burgers and cook for about 4 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through, seasoning with some salt and pepper and garlic powder if desired. Set aside and keep warm. Heat the grill to high.
Place the toasted bun bottoms on a baking tray. Divide the mushroom mixture in half and spread the bun bottoms with half of the mixture, dividing it equally amongst the four bottoms. Top each with a slice of cheddar. Take the remainder of the mushroom mixture and divide it equally over the top of each cooked burger, mounding it in the middle. Top them with a slice of cheese as well. Slice the baking tray and the pan with the burgers in it under the grill. Grill until the cheese is bubbling and melted.
Remove each bun bottom to four heated plates. Top each with some shredded lettuce if using, then a portion of the special sauce. Place a cheese and mushroom topped burger on top of each and then place the toasted bun tops over all. Serve immediately.
Westin Gourmet Steak Burgers are made from highest qualith, grass fed 100% British Beef and can be purchased in 4, 6 and 8 ounce sized burgers, in packs ranging from four in a pack for the 4 ounce ones to 10 in a pack for the others, and ranging in price from £2.27 per serving to £3.37 per serving. That's not bad for an award winning burger. You really do get what you pay for people, and I love knowing that what I am eating is what I think it is . . . you cannot put a price on honesty, integrity and full disclosure. It is what it is, and I like that.
Their Ethos is that the whole Westin Team works super hard to ensure their produce is bred responsibly and tastes great. You can't get much better than that.
Up next . . . a tasty roast beef.