A Hamburger Today
Gourmet White Castle Hamburger Stuffing Is Just a Bad Idea
Last week I delved into the haute-cuisine of boxed stuffings with Williams Sonoma’s La Brea boxed stuffing mixes. Today, I nose-dived into the lowest of the low cuisine: cheeseburger dressing. Even though it was made at home, and with love, and from scratch—I have to say, with utmost gravity, I can’t believe people eat this.
It all started with White Castle’s much discussed hamburger stuffing for turkey. The original recipe contains the following ingredients: ten White Castle hamburgers, celery, dried thyme, dried sage, black pepper, and chicken stock. We, at the office, were mesmerized. Could I not recreate a gourmet version of this fast-food slow-cook at home?
So I took stock. I wasn’t just going to do hamburger stuffing—I was going to do Fast Food Nation stuffing: Cheeseburger and Fry Stuffing. Now I was beginning to get excited. Instead of buns, I used freshly baked Kaiser rolls. Ground sirloin was my burger meat, spiced with tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce instead of ketchup. As for onions and pickle and lettuce, I kept the onions, replaced the pickle with celery and the lettuce with fresh thyme. Then, I added chunks of extra sharp cheddar cheese, and, wait for it, steak fries—for contrast. While most stuffings call for stock, I said, hell no, this is a real American stuffing: I used beer. I baked and I waited. I tasted.
Ew! I have to say that my not-so-delicate sensibilities were thoroughly offended. I knew that this would have to be served as a dressing, and not stuffed inside the bird, but the first taste robbed me of my appetite. No Thanksgiving feast for me. Oh no. I’m done. There’s nothing wrong with it exactly. I mean, you wouldn’t die from eating it—at least, not until the cholesterol kicked in. The beer added great flavor, the meat was moist and flavorful, the cheese oozed out in pockets, the bread puffed up and tasted fresh. It’s just a bad idea. I understand why the Indians didn’t bring this to the first Thanksgiving. It would have started a war. I would rather have frozen in my failing plantation and died of scurvy than have eaten this Cheeseburger and Fry Dressing. Or frankly, if this all-American stuffing is what America stood for centuries ago, I would have turned right around, boarded my ship, and set sell for Old Britannia and religious persecution.
The only way I can think to improve this? Bacon. And maybe lard. Or maybe, to just not make it at all.
Has anyone tried the original White Castle recipe? Or made one from scratch like I did here? What did you think? Can you defend Cheeseburger and Fry stuffing?
Make the stuffing yourself with my recipe for Cheeseburger and Fry Dressing.