Risotto burger with grilled onion

Risotto Burger

Bachi Burger in Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nevada, has perhaps the best food of any casual restaurant that I know of. The dining room itself is not that exciting, at least during lunch, but the hot chili fries and the Asian/burger fusion cuisine is as good as it gets for high-end comfort food – with a very high probability that they have the best burgers in the world.

Last time I was there they had a special, a burger topped with a grilled onion and egg served on a risotto. At first the idea of the dish just felt strange, but the more I thought about it I felt intrigued and just had to try it – and it was simply out of this world.

As soon as I got home from this U.S. trip I started experimenting with my own version of the dish. At a glance it doesn’t look that complicated, and really isn’t, but there are a couple of subtleties that can take it to the next level. Get them wrong and you won’t be impressed and sort of wonder what the fuss is about.

First, there’s a real risk in serving just too much food. If you make a normal sized risotto and then make a proportional burger the end result is a giant bowl of food. For this to work you really need to nail a risotto that can stand by itself as well as world class burger. The barbecue sauce is crucial if you’re going this route, to brighten up the dish, and also to find really flavorful meat and cook it properly. No-name minced meat won’t do, you need to find a good mix of chuck, sirloin and/or entrecôte and fillet. A 70/30 mix of chuck and sirloin is my simple go-to blend for burger meat. Any meat patty bigger than 120 grams needs to be served medium or medium-rare with a really nice, grilled surface from a hot pan (and possible a little help from a flame torch). An option is to cook the burgers sous-vide at 58 °C and then deep-fry them for 30 seconds in 220 °C hot oil right before serving for a guaranteed perfect result.

Just like the sauce, the risotto has to have a component of being slightly tangy on a deep and grounded base. The Parmigiano Reggiano is a key here, but a little extra salt and vinegar can help to avoid having to use copious amounts of cheese. In this recipe we’ve chosen to use the classic way of cooking risotto, but if you are in a hurry you can also use a pressure-cooker.

An option is to serve this as a starter. A mini-version made using quail eggs and Kobe/Wagyu beef is not that expensive but takes the indulgence factor through the roof for a quite surreal experience. A smaller burger is also less sensitive to being a little overdone, but if you’re using fine meat you should take care to make it as good as you can.

Risotto Burger

4 servings (2 hours to prepare and cook)

  • 1.2-1.8 kg pork butt or pork belly
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 medium yellow onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • (2 stalks celery)
  • 1 leek
  • 15 black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leafs
  • 250 ml dry, non-oaked white wine
  • Bouquet garni
  • ca. 2 liters water

Vegetable stock

  1. Peel the vegetables and chop them roughly. Put in a large saucepan and cover with water (usually around 2 liters). Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. The celery is optional but adds depth to the stock.
  2. Take the pot off the heat and add the wine, bouquet garni, peppercorns and bay leafs. Stir a few times and let it rest and cool for at least 20 minutes, preferably 40 minutes. If you don’t have a bouquet garni, just use dried herbs such as thyme, rosemary and oregano straight into the stock.
  3. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing gently with a wooden spoon to press out trapped stock. Use right away or store in the fridge for up to a week.
  • 1/2 carrot
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 1 star anise
  • 100 g beef trimmings
  • 1 dl sherry
  • 2 dl vegetable stock

Beef stock

  1. Finely chop or make brunoise of the vegetables. Heat a saucepan on medium-high heat.
  2. Add some butter or olive oil to the hot pan and sear the beef trimmings until they’re really browned (but not burnt).
  3. Lower the heat on the pan and add the vegetables and star anise, also adding a little more fat if needed. Fry until the vegetables are soft, without browning them.
  4. Add the sherry and stir to release what has stuck to the bottom (make sure it’s not burnt). Let it reduce to half and then add the vegetable stock. Reduce to half and then remove from the heat. If you have the time, let it sit for an hour or two.
  5. Skim fat and other impurities from the surface and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Use right away or store in the fridge for up to a week.
  • 1 dl chili sauce (Heinz)
  • 1 dl water
    25 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 5 ml liquid smoke
  • 5 ml aged rum
  • 5 ml granulated onion powder
  • 1 ml chipotle powder
  • 15 ml raw (brown) sugar
  • 15 ml caster sugar
  • 1 ml table salt
  • 5 ml black pepper
  • 1 pinch chili flakes

Barbecue sauce

  1. Combine everything in a saucepan and simmer for ten minutes.
  • 2 dl Arborio rice
  • 2 dl white wine
  • 3 dl vegetable stock
  • 2 dl beef stock
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 25 g butter
  • 15 g butter
  • 1-2 dl grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


  1. Pre-cook the rice by blanching it for 5 minutes. Let it rest on a tray and put under plastic with a little olive oil on top if leaving for more than 30 minutes.
  2. Fry the chopped onion in a saucepan on medium heat until it softens. Add the rice once the onion is done. Fry for another minute.
  3. Add the wine and let it come to a boil, reduce while stirring and add the beef stock when it’s almost gone. Continue reducing and adding vegetable stock until done, it should take some 15-20 minutes in total. Use medium-low heat to reduce the amount of stirring and the risk to burn the bottom, but it will take slightly longer to finish the risotto.
  4. Finish by stirring in butter and add grated Parmigiano-Reggiano right before serving (ca. 1.5 dl). Season with salt and pepper. Adjust the acidity with a little vinegar if needed.
  • Risotto
  • 1 big yellow onion (Vidalia)
  • 720 g burger blend beef meat
  • 4 eggs

To finish

  1. Peel the onion and cut four disks, 5 mm thick (¼”). Carefully place in a pan on medium heat in a little olive oil and flip once in awhile. Season with a little salt. Pre-heat another large pan on high (keep it under control though, you don’t want to burn it up).
  2. Shape four beef patties, seasoning the inside with salt and pepper and a little salt on the outside.
  3. Add a generous nob of butter to the hot pan and add the patties as soon as it has stopped sizzling. Keep the heat on high and flip them every 30 seconds. Continue until the outside has a nice Maillard crust, usually around 3 minutes. Continue flipping the burger on lower temperature until it’s done according to your liking, the optimal would be to just remove it after the crust has formed and rest it for 5 minutes, but it might be a little too rare for some. Season with black pepper.
  4. When the meat is resting, use the same pan to cook the eggs sunny side up. Add a little more butter if needed (or quickly rinse of the pan if it’s too greasy) and lower the temperature to medium. Remove from the heat and serve when the egg whites have solidified. Season with a little salt.
  5. To plate, start with the risotto followed by the burger. Coat the top of the burger with an even, thin coating of sauce followed by the onion ring and egg. Garnish with some chopped fresh chives and freshly ground black pepper if you want to.