The Mushroom Council and The Food Network have announced the winners of their 2022 Blended Burger Contest — the best combination of mushrooms and meat in a patty.
Entries had to have at least 25% finely chopped fresh mushrooms mixed with ground meat or a meat alternative. Two winning recipes were chosen from a field of 1,361 entrants. They are:
Home Cook Winner: Souvlaki-Inspired Blended Burgers. Sarah Meuser, New Milford, Conn. Meuser is a food allergy mom and self-taught home cook/baker who currently is creating recipes for a food allergy-friendly cookbook she hopes to publish. Her approach with her winning burger was to transform a popular and beloved Greek fast food – pork souvlaki – into a burger made more delicious by blending mushrooms at a ratio of 1/3 white buttons to 2/3 pork.
Professional Winner: Crispy Katsu Blended Burger, Tsz Chan, Bolo, Temple City, Calif. “My vision was to create something that could transport people to Japan,” Chan said. “Menchi katsu was the best meatloaf I’ve ever had in Japan so I came up with the idea to transform it into the ultimate burger.” Chan’s creation features a blend of equal parts ground ribeye, ground pork, and chopped sauteed shiitake mushrooms. “The shiitakes provide an extra, powerful layer of texture and flavor. Being from Hong Kong, mushrooms are such a part of our cuisine. If you put mushrooms in a recipe, it’s going to make it that much better. That’s why blending mushrooms makes sense to me: You get all the benefits of the meat, but you add mushrooms and bulk it up not only in size, but also flavor.”
“Our annual blended burger contests have long celebrated how blending in mushrooms can make the iconic burger more delicious, nutritious and sustainable,” said Pam Smith, foodservice strategic partner for the Mushroom Council. “Now, with inflation putting pressure on grocery budgets, we’re learning more than ever that mushrooms are the answer in stretching your food dollars – making this year’s competition even more impacting. We loved exploring these delicious entries and congratulate the winners.”
Teton Waters Ranch’s Burger Blends mix savory mushrooms with the company’s 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef for a “flexitarian-friendly burger experience,” according to the company.
The company, which started out as an experiment in environmental conservation, is committed not only to improving the health of Americans through blended products but to helping the planet and the people, animals, plants and other things on it in myriad ways.
“We’ve seen firsthand how a ranch can rehabilitate the land through regenerative agriculture,” according to Teton Waters Ranch. “By planting native grasses and letting the cattle graze freely through cattle rotation, they fertilize the soil while creating a food system that’s sustainable and healthy.”
Teton Waters Ranch opted out of the way most beef is produced today, where cattle spend much of their lives far from the grass they love.
Roots in the '80s
Bruce Aidell has been blending meats with vegetables and other foods for decades. Establishing his brand in 1983, Aidell, the inventor of the Chicken and Apple sausage is “an original,” according to Aidells, a Tyson Foods brand. The Aidells blended portfolio includes smoked sausage, breakfast sausage and meatballs.
“Today, we’re continuing Bruce’s legacy of creating some of the most unexpected flavor combinations in all our delicious smoked sausages, meatballs, and breakfast links,” according to Tyson. “Combinations like Pineapple & Bacon, Habanero & Green Chile, Spinach & Feta, and Artichoke & Garlic. All made in small batches with real, all-natural ingredients.”