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"Top Chef All Star" Eric Adjepong shares his recipe for a burger inspired by the flavors of Senegalese comfort food—a vibrant mixture of Dijon mustard, caramelized onions and roasted garlic.
"I was born and raised in NYC. My folks came to the states in the late '80s from Ghana. Growing up I had the very interesting dichotomy of a traditional West African home, but also growing up as a New York City kid, eating different foods and experiencing different cultures outside my home. My neighborhood had Caribbean people and communities, Hasidic Jew, Italian, Hispanic…Naturally not a lot of people know the food of West Africa. Even though Africa is the second biggest continent in the world, the food isn't that prominent, and I want to be able to teach people about it, while also using influences from my NYC upbringing." –Eric
For the burger, in a bowl, mix the ground beef, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, salt, and pepper together in a bowl; shape into 4 balls.
In a hot cast iron pan or grill, cook the burgers by smashing them until they are beginning to firm and are hot and slightly pink in the center, about 5 minutes per side. Or until, desired degree of doneness. Rest burgers while assembling toppings.
For the Yassa Onion Jam, preheat oven to 400˚F. Cut the tops of the garlic, just enough to expose the cloves and leaving the root ends intact. On a sheet of aluminum foil, layer garlic with fresh thyme, drizzle olive oil over the exposed cloves and wrap, leaving a small hole for steam to release. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes.
Once cooled, remove the garlic from the cloves, reserving 5 to 7 cloves for mashing with mayonnaise for a quick aioli. In a blender jar, combine roasted garlic and ginger, and puree with a touch of oil until smooth.
In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat, add onions and cook until golden-brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Stir in turmeric, coriander, Dijon, vinegar, and roasted garlic-ginger puree, then cook on low for 10 minutes more. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the lemon juice. Season with salt to taste.
To serve, assemble the patties on burger buns spread with aioli, top with onion jam, and, if desired, tomato slices, cheese or lettuce.