Burgers for a Bunch – ohhhhhh my, they were a staple on our table in the 70’s! My Mom’s best friend, who we called Aunt Peggy, made this dish for us when we visited her in Ithica, NY and we all fell in love with it. My Mom got the recipe, tweaked it a bit, doubled it to fit the size of our family and it was a done deal.
This is the perfect TBT dish! It’s old, it’s yummy, it’s comfort food, it’s inexpensive to make and it feeds a crowd. Oh and did I mention that the leftovers are fantastic as a cold lunch?
I’ve changed my Mom’s recipe a wee bit. I removed the chopped onions in the burger mix. Instead, I caramelize them, then layer them on along with bacon… uh huh, I said BACON! Then there’s the mushrooms! I just can’t resist sauteed mushrooms on my burgers, so I put them in this dish too. I also usually use BBQ sauce in place of the ketchup. Tim doesn’t care for relish, so I chop a couple dill pickle spears and toss those on instead. I also reserve the right to get creative with the cheese that tops the whole filling. Depending on my mood I’ve been known to use Provolone, Gruyere, 5 year Cheddar, Pepper Jack and a mix of some or all of them. There’s no wrong cheese when you’re putting it on top of a bacon cheeseburger, right?
So let’s get cooking. The ingredients for the burger filling layers are right here in this pic:
I heat up a large cast iron skillet, then chop up my bacon and fry till crispy.
Let it get nice and brown and don’t drain the fat out of the pan! While it’s browning, slice the onions nice and thin. I adore my mandolin for jobs like this! My son Adam talked me into buying it back in January of this year when I whined yet again about not having one. I also adore my son. He talks me right into the things I really want.
As soon as the bacon is out of the pan, toss in the onions and let them cook till they’re soft and golden brown all over.
Take the onions out when they’re all caramelized, then put in a bunch of sliced mushrooms. Let them get super brown on the outside and cook them till they soften.
The next player to go into the skillet is the ground beef. Brown it and break it up as it cooks, then set that aside, turn off the stove and take a short break. You’re done with the stove for a while!
Back from your break? Yay! Time to make the dough for the upside down pie crust. The secret ingredient in this is instant potato flakes. They give it a slightly “french fry” or tater tot flavor.
This is just a typical short crust, made in the usual way. The butter is nice and cold so that it creates those lovely little pea sized lumps that melt as it’s baking and make the crust tender.
These are some of my favorite kitchen helpers. They're Dang Good and I love 'em!
Once you stir the crust together, take a minute to melt more butter and stir in some more instant potato flakes, then set it aside. That’s going to be the crunchy topping on the burgers for a bunch (with bacon!).
The last thing to mix together is the burger mixture. It’s simple! Just stir in yet more instant potato flakes, an egg and some salt and pepper.
And now it’s time to assemble the whole dish. There’s no right or wrong way to do this, it’s all in what you like to eat on your burgers and how you like to stack those flavors!
For me, I toss my burger mix onto the rolled out bottom crust, then pat it down firmly:
Then on go all the toppings in tall layers. I know it’s going to look really tall, but don’t fret, I press it down after I get the top crust on it! Here’s the bacon shot that I know you’ve been waiting for… lots and lots of bacon on top of lots and lots of onions and mushrooms.
Next up, the cheese. For this meal I used New York Cheddar, grated it nice and fine and piled it on. Have I mentioned how much I love cheese? Ummm, yeah, well that cat’s out of the bag now…
All that’s left is to add your favorite condiments, then top it off with the top crust. Crimp the edges of the crusts together so none of the bacon cheeseburger goodness leaks out while it’s baking. Then sprinkle on the instant potato flake topping.
You’re done! Just put this baby into the oven for 30 minutes, toss a salad and serve dinner.
Yep, that’s my Burgers for a Bunch (with Bacon!) folks. Or, as Tim calls it – “Shepard’s Pie that tastes a lot better than Shepard’s Pie and doesn’t have icky vegetables in it”!
This is the kind of food that makes me wish Throw Back Thursday’s would get here faster each week. I love burgers for a bunch (with bacon!) – thanks Aunt Peg and Mom for making it so often when I was a kid.
- 8 oz Bacon - sliced into ½ inch pieces
- 1 large Onion - sliced
- 1½ pounds Ground Beef
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Pepper
- ¾ cup Instant Potato Flakes
- 1 Egg, beaten
- ¼ cup Ketchup or BBQ Sauce
- ¼ cup Hamburger Relish or Sliced Dill Pickles
- 1 tablespoon Mustard
- 1 cup Cheddar Cheese - shredded
- ½ cup Butter - cold
- ½ cup Instant Potato Flakes
- 3 cups all-purpose Flour
- 2 tablespoon Sugar
- 2 tsp. Baking Powder
- ½ tsp. Baking Soda
- ¾ cup Milk + 2 tablespoons if needed
- ½ cup Mayonnaise
- ¼ cup Butter
- ¼ cup Instant Potato Flakes
- Additional milk
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a large skillet, fry the bacon till crisped. Drain on paper towels. In the same pan, saute the onions in the bacon fat till golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
- Pour the bacon fat out of the pan, then place on medium heat. Add beef, salt and pepper, then cook and stir till meat is browned through. Stir in the potato flakes and egg: set aside.
- For the Topping, melt the ¼ cup butter in a small saucepan. Stir in ¼ cup potato flakes; set aside.
- For the Crust, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda and remaining potato flakes. Cut in the ½ cup butter; add milk and mayonnaise. Blend until a soft dough forms. If dough is too dry, add the extra 2 tablespoons of milk.
- Divide the dough in half. On a floured surface, roll one portion of dough into a 10-in. circle. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Mound the browned beef on top, spreading to within 1 inch of the edge. Beginning with the onions, layer the onions, bacon, ketchup, relish and mustard on top of the beef. Add the shredded cheese last.
- Roll out the remaining dough and place on top of the filling. Seal and flute edges.
- At this point you can cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. Then preheat oven to 350 and proceed with the recipe.
- Brush with milk and sprinkle with reserved buttered potato topping mixture.
- Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into wedges to serve.
- Yield: 10 servings.