How to Make DC’s Famous, “Just Crazy Enough to Work” Jam and Foie Gras Burger
Duck Duck Goose shares the recipe for their decadent house burger
Luxury burgers are nothing new in the world of fine dining, from Gramercy Tavern’s off-menu burger – once limited to just 40 orders a day – to Las Vegas’ $5,000 Fleur Burger boasting wagyu beef, foie gras, truffle, and a bottle of 1995 Chateau Petrus to wash it all down. It was a considerably cheaper luxe burger – the $28 Black Label at Greenwich Village’s Minetta Tavern – that initiated chef Ashish Alfred to the genre, when, as he tells it, as a broke culinary school student, he “did what any good academic would do” and waited patiently for his dad to come to town and treat him to one of these prime sandwiches featuring four different cuts of beef: short rib, skirt, brisket, and dry-aged ribeye.
“I remember the way that burger made me feel more than how it tasted,” Alfred recalls. “I knew then that if I ever opened my own place, I’d have to make a burger that could stand up to this one. A burger that didn’t fall apart when you ate it, where each bite was the same, and you didn’t find yourself eating around the middle to save the best for last. I wanted to create a burger that was decadent and memorable.”
And at his brasserie, that’s exactly what he’s done.
Duck Duck Goose’s third outpost opened in Dupont Circle in December, following successful addresses in both Bethesda and Baltimore. Alfred notes that despite the shared name, the spots each have their own personality and their own menus, but one thing you’ll find at all three is the eponymous burger, which unites foie gras, blueberry jam, and gruyère (the cheese causing all that controversy) for a flavor combo that falls decisively into the “just crazy enough to work” category.
The burger begins, as everything at Duck Duck Goose does, with exquisite primary ingredients: dry-aged chuck flap affords an ultra-rich, powerful flavor to the patty itself, which means it can stand up to nutty gruyere cheese, with its buttery aroma and depth.
Gruyère, Alfred notes, “is a phenomenal melting cheese, and it still manages to maintain its integrity, so it doesn’t just stick to one part of the bun or all slide off on your first bite.”
House-made blueberry jam lends “just the right amount of sweet and acid to break what could become a monotonous 7.5 oz of beef,” according to the chef, while mayonnaise spiked with a touch of Dijon mustard balances the sweetness and richness of the ensemble with a hint of heat.
What could be the most divisive of the toppings – seared foie gras – doesn’t have to be, in the case of Duck Duck Goose, which sources its livers from an ethical, humane producer in New York’s Hudson Valley. The seared foie provides the burger with “an unctuous surprise,” according to the chef. “Like finding perfect little bits of marbling in a good ribeye.”
Served on a rich brioche bun rendered crispy in the oven, the finished burger expertly blends sweetness, earthiness, and a whole lot of richness for a dish that more than delivers on the brasserie’s promise of “modern dishes with bold flavors.”
Duck Duck Goose Burger (makes 4)
For the blueberry jam:
- 1 pint blueberries
- 50 grams sugar
- 10 grams lemon juice
For the mayo:
- 2 eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- 15 grams Dijon mustard
- 5 grams salt
- 45 grams white wine vinegar
- 240 grams olive oil
- 505 grams blended oil
For the burgers:
- ¾ pound ground dry-aged beef
- 1¼ pound ground chuck flap
For the assembly:
- 4 brioche buns
- 4 2.5-ounce portions foie gras
- 4 slices gruyere cheese
- Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper to taste
Make the jam: Cook the blueberries and sugar for 45 mins on low heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Finish with lemon juice and cool completely; chill until needed.
Make the mayo: In a food processor, combine the eggs, egg yolks, mustard, salt, and vinegar until smooth. Slowly add the oil until emulsified, then store in the fridge until ready to use.
Make the burgers: Combine the ground dry-aged beef and ground chuck flap, and weigh the beef out into eight-ounce balls. Form into patties ½-inch larger than the buns, to allow for the meat to shrink during cooking. Set aside until ready to cook.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven or toaster oven on high, and season the burger patties with salt, pepper, and a coating of Dijon mustard. Sear on both sides, cooking until you reach your desired temperature. (About 2 minutes per side for rare; about 3 ½ minutes per side for medium.)
Top the burgers with jam and a slice of cheese, and melt the cheese under the broiler. Meanwhile, sear the foie gras in a hot, nonstick pan over high heat for a minute per side. Remove from the heat and season with salt.
Toast the burger buns on both sides, and dress with the mayo. Place the burger on the bun and serve!
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