Mini Duck Burgers with Shiitake Mushroom Ketchup

Menu Part: 
Cuisine Type: 
4 servings

Many varieties of ground meat, poultry and seafood are finding their way in between the buns to jazz up the burger selection. Here, Chef Cindy Pawlcyn, of Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen in St. Helena, California, spices ground duck with Asian-style seasonings and tops the mini-burgers with a house-made ketchup that’s far from ordinary—its flavor and texture come from mushrooms, balsamic vinegar and molasses, not tomatoes.


Mongolian Marinade:
½ cup hoisin sauce
1½ tsp. sugar
2¼ tsp. tamari
2¼ tsp. sherry vinegar
2¼ tsp. rice vinegar
1 to 2 scallions, white and light green parts only, minced
½ tsp. hot pepper sauce
¾ tsp. black bean chili sauce or hot garlic sauce
¾ tsp. grated fresh ginger
2¼ tsp. minced garlic
¼ to ½ tsp. freshly ground white pepper
2 tbsp. minced cilantro leaves and tender stems
1½ tsp. sesame oil

Duck Burgers:
1 lb. ground duck
1 scallion, white and a bit of tender green, minced
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1½ tsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. Mongolian Marinade
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Shiitake Mushroom Ketchup:
2 to 3 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
1 onion, finely diced
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. molasses
¼ bunch basil leaves, chopped
¼ cup Mongolian Marinade

Chinese-Style Mustard Sauce:
¼ cup sugar
2 tbsp. Colman’s powdered mustard
1 large egg yolk
¼ cup red wine vinegar
6 tbsp. crème fraîche or sour cream
8 small sesame brioche buns, split
1 to 2 tbsp. butter
2 cups arugula 


1. Prepare Mongolian Marinade: In stainless steel or ceramic bowl, whisk together all ingredients in order given; set aside.

2. Prepare Duck Burgers: Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hr. and up to overnight.

3. Prepare Shiitake Mushroom Ketchup: Over med.-high heat, sauté mushrooms in oil until tender. Add onions; cook until translucent. Add remaining ingredients; reduce until mixture coats back of spoon. Refrigerate mixture.

4. Prepare Mustard Sauce: In double boiler over boiling water, combine sugar and mustard powder. Whisk to blend thoroughly. Whisk in egg yolk and wine vinegar. Whisking constantly, cook until mixture is think enough to ribbon. Cool; add crème fraîche or sour cream. Keep refrigerated.

5. Heat grill or flattop. Portion chilled duck mixture out into 2-oz (1/4 cup) mini patties. Grill or griddle the patties to order over med.-high heat 2 to 3 min. per side, basting with some of Mongolian Marinade as they cook.

6. Meanwhile, heat Shiitake Ketchup; toast and lightly butter buns. Place burgers on bun bottoms; top each with some Shiitake Ketchup, arugula and a drizzle of the Mustard Sauce.

7. Add bun tops and serve with any extra Mustard Sauce and Shiitake Ketchup on the side.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Maple Leaf Farms  

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