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LivingFood and DrinkSmashed Hamburgers with Caramelized Onions

Smashed Hamburgers with Caramelized Onions

by Susan Hanna

This take on hamburgers from Ina Garten’s Modern Comfort Food is fantastic. Cook sliced red onions until they are caramelized. Meanwhile, make four beef patties and freeze for 15 minutes. Sear and flatten the burgers, top with the onions and Gruyère cheese, cover and cook until the burgers are done and the cheese is melted. Serve on buns topped with ketchup and your favourite burger toppings.

Serves 4.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Eden Organic red wine vinegar, Keen’s dry mustard and Ace hamburger buns. Check the Gruyère cheese to make sure it does not contain colour. Heinz ketchup is free of additives and preservatives. For more recipes using all-natural ingredients, visit Eye For a Recipe.


  • 3½ tbsp. (52.5 ml) canola or grape-seed oil, divided
  • 4 cups (1 L) ¼-in.-thick (0.64-cm-thick sliced red onions (from 2 onions)
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. (15 ml) good red wine vinegar
  • 1½ tsp. (7.5 ml) dry mustard powder
  • 1½ tsp. (7.5 ml) kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. (2.5 ml) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1¼ lbs. (567 g) ground beef with 20% fat
  • 4 oz. (113 g) Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 1 cup/250 ml)
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Ketchup, for serving


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the oil in a large (12-inch/30-cm) skillet over medium. Add onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and starting to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add sugar; reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are browned and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. Add vinegar, and cook 30 seconds to deglaze the pan.
  2. Stir together dry mustard powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place ground beef in a medium bowl, and sprinkle with dry mustard mixture. With your fingers, lightly work the mixture into beef, and shape into 4 (1-inch/2.54-cm-thick) patties. Place patties on a plate, and freeze exactly 15 minutes.
  3. Heat a large (12-inch/30-cm) cast-iron skillet over medium high, and add remaining 1½ tablespoons (22.5 ml) oil. From the freezer, place burgers directly into hot skillet. With a large metal spatula, firmly press each burger into skillet. Cook burgers 2 ½ to 3 minutes, without disturbing, so bottoms get browned and crusty. Flip burgers; top evenly with onions, and then sprinkle evenly with Gruyère. Place a lid on skillet, and cook burgers until cheese is melted and burgers are medium-rare, 1½ to 2 minutes. Place 1 burger on each bun, and serve hot with ketchup on the side.

From Modern Comfort Food by Ina Garten




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