Culinary Fight Club: Let the Blended Burger Battles Begin!

Four chefs entered the burger ring on May 19th to battle it out in the first-ever Blended Burger Battle. Hosted by Culinary Fight Club in Chicago, the battle pitted chef against chef to create the ultimate mushroom-meat blended burger. Up for grabs: burger bragging rights and a Golden Ticket to the World Food Championships.

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Each chef had 45 seconds to run for ingredients and 60 minutes to make plates for three judges (PLUS 100 portions for taster’s choice). Judges of the fierce fight included Council Representative Steve Solomon, Burger Bar Chicago Chef John McLean, and Owner of Big Fork Brands Lance Avery.

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Battling it out: Chef Tim Davidson of Troquet, Chef Paul Caravelli of Knife and Tine, Chef Ray Carpenter of Central Table, and Chef Craig Baker of Local Eatery + Pub.

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Mushrooms were chopped, meat was blended, and burgers were grilled as the four chefs duked it out for the title of best blended burger. In the end, only one chef could win, and the crowd (and taste buds) went wild for Chef Tim Davidson’s blended burger!

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Aside from being an incredibly fun event, Culinary Fight Club also is partnered with Fight2Feed, an organization that partners top restaurants with food trucks to provide service and support to hungry men, women and children.

And guess what? The battle doesn’t stop here! The Blended Burger Project is just getting started (May 30)—this time challenging chefs across the nation to create the best blended burger. Winners are decided by YOU, so find the blended burgers nearest you and Taste, Share, Vote!

Watch: How to Make Blended Burgers

Classic Blend Burgers

For National Burger Month, we’re putting a twist on an American classic. Whether you’re looking to cut a few calories or stretch your dollar, blending mushrooms into your favorite protein is an easy way to create a sustainable and nutritious burger without sacrificing any of the flavor.

Now that you’ve got the basic recipe down, we want to see your creations! Hashtag #blenditarian on social to show us how you BYOB (blend your own burger).

BYOB: Blend Your Own Burger

The month of May is all about the burger: Not only is it the unofficial kick-off to grilling season, it’s also National Burger Month! (As if we needed an excuse to dish up a juicy burger.) In spirit of the season, we’ve put together a guide to help you BYOB (blend your own burger).

Never made a blended burger before? It’s easy: add finely chopped mushrooms to meat for a juicier, more delicious burger. With the abundance of fresh produce that summer brings, now is the perfect time to see what the hype is about and concoct your own perfect blended burger. Top a beef and white button mushroom burger with crisp lettuce, ripe tomato and buttery avocado for a classic take. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, combine cremini mushrooms with ground lamb, topped off with crunchy pickles and boursin cheese. The options are endless!

We want to see your creations! Post a picture on social and hashtag #blenditarian to show us how you BYOB.
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Cinco de Mayo Celebrations

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Throwing a fiesta for Cinco de Mayo? Don’t forget mushrooms! Mushrooms are delicious in Mexican food—pairing perfectly with chiles, fish, meat, cheese and all kinds of vegetables.

Whether you’re a vegetarian or serious meat eater, you’ll enjoy mushrooms’ meaty texture and earthy flavor served up in a variety of traditional—and not so traditional—Mexican dishes. Take a look through our recipe roundup to spice up your festivities!

Meat - Mushroom Potato and Chorizo Tacos Meatless - Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Tacos Meat - Beefy Burritos Meatless - Mushroom Breakfast Burritos Meat - Taco Salad Meatless - Taco Stuffed Baked Potato Meat - Chicken and Mushroom Enchiladas Verdes Meatless - Pepper Burrito “Bowls”

WATCH: Mushroom Crepes with Gruyere Béchamel Sauce for Mother’s Day

Special thanks to Chez Uz for helping us cook up crepes for Mom this weekend. Rich and inviting, Mom won’t be able to resist the comfort that comes with each flavorful bite. 

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This recipe is inspired by a savory crepe recipe that we often enjoyed during my childhood.  The original recipe is made with sliced mushrooms, broccoli, and canned mushroom soup–a rich and comforting dish.  While my memory reminds me that it was a great recipe, I wanted this new version to be even better by using more mushrooms, and no broccoli or canned soup. Still rich in flavor, as well as inviting and comforting with each bite.

I doubled the amount of the mushrooms used in the original recipe by adding blended mushrooms with sliced mushrooms into the filling.  Blending in mushrooms is one of my favorite ways to incorporate more flavor and moisture into dishes.  For this recipe, I also decided not to use canned soup, and I made an easy Gruyere Béchamel sauce, which compliments mushrooms very well.

This recipe would be wonderful served during Mother’s Day brunch or as a light entree during dinner.

Recipe: Mushroom Crepes with Gruyere Béchamel Sauce

Serves:  4

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced yellow onion
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves finely minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds cremini mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 cups packed spinach, washed and dried
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
  • kosher salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • 8 crepes – your favorite recipe or they can be found pre-made at the grocery store
  • fresh thyme sprigs as garnish – optional

Directions: 

Place a large frying pan over medium-low heat and add the olive oil.  Once slightly warmed add the yellow onion.  Stir and cook until soft; about 3 minutes.

Add the garlic and dried thyme.  Stir again.  Lower heat to the lowest setting on your stove.

Place 3/4 of the mushrooms into a food processor and finely chop.

Slice the remaining 1/4 of the mushrooms.

Add the mushrooms to the onion/garlic mixture and cook, stirring often for 5 minutes over medium-low heat.

Add the spinach and cook just until wilted over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the butter into a medium saucepan over low heat and melt.

Whisk in the flour, then slowly pour in the milk.  Stir over medium-low heat until slightly thickened.

Add the cheese, continue whisking until melted.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

Place a crepe into a baking dish and fill with some of the mushroom filling, roll up, and then repeat.  You can place the crepes into individual baking dishes as I did in the video or a large baking dish.

Drizzle with some the Gruyere Béchamel sauce.

Optional: garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme.

Bake for 15 – 25 minutes until the sauce is bubbly and lightly golden.

Serve.

Eat.