Beef burgers with spiced tomato ketchup

by Angela Clutton

Quality burgers with a deeply-flavoured tomato sauce

Use the very best beef you can for making burgers—it is the main ingredient, so its quality (and therefore flavour) will tell. Build your burger with whatever topping you choose, but especially good is this version of tomato ‘ketchup’. Its inverted commas are there because this isn’t the kind of ketchup that will keep for months and months. It has a far deeper flavour than the conventionally bottled versions, with a spicy hit that goes well with the meat.


For the burgers:
1 shallot, diced
500g beef mince
1 egg
¼ tsp chilli flakes
40g breadcrumbs
20g butter
1 tbsp olive oil
4 burger buns

For the spiced tomato ‘ketchup’:
1 small red onion, finely chopped
½ celery stick, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
½ tsp coriander seeds, crushed
A pinch of ground cloves
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp black mustard seeds
500g tomatoes, chopped
75ml red wine vinegar
25ml malt vinegar
40g soft brown sugar
1 star anise


To make the ketchup, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and celery and cook for 5 mins, until softening and taking on gentle colour. Add the garlic and then stir in the spices. Allow to cook for minute or so, releasing their flavours with the heat.

Stir in the chopped tomatoes, both types of vinegar, the sugar and star anise. Season. Cook uncovered on a high simmer for approx 15 mins until becoming jammy. Remove the star anise and blitz the tomato mix in a processor. Push through a sieve and look at the consistency. If not thick enough for your liking, let it bubble for a minute or two in a pan. Cool until ready to serve with the burgers (the ketchup can be stored in the fridge for about a week.)

To make the burgers, use your hands to mix together the shallot, beef, egg, chilli flakes and breadcrumbs. Season well. Divide the mixture into four and shape into patties. Cover and set aside for at least 20 mins (in the fridge if for more than an hour).

To cook the burgers, return them to room temperature if they’ve been in the fridge. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the patties and cook for 6 mins, turn them over and give them another 6 mins. Serve on the burger buns with the ketchup and any other topping you like.

Recipe: Angela Clutton