Ingredients for the burgers:

2 lbs. lean ground sirloin
1/3 cup finely minced onion
1/3 cup finely minced celery
1/3 cup spicy salsa
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup real mayonnaise
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

First, lay out a sheet of freezer wrap or parchment paper on the countertop and portion out the two pounds of beef into 8 quarter-pound clumps of ground sirloin on top the paper. Then flatten out each portion to about a half-inch thickness.

Next, evenly sprinkle the burgers with the onions, celery, salsa, Worcestershire, salt and black pepper. Then with the edge of a metal spatula, chop the seasonings into the meat until fully and equally distributed. When totally combined flatten the meat once again and, with the spatula, place them into a shallow pan on a sheet of parchment paper.

At this point, liberally brush the tops of the burgers with mayonnaise and sprinkle them generously with the seasoned breadcrumbs. Then slide the pan onto the center rack of an oven that has been preheated to 400 degrees. All that's left is to bake the burgers uncovered for about 30-40 minutes or until the meat turns a crusty golden brown.

After the baking process, keep the meat on a warming platter at 200 degrees until the rest of the meal is ready.


Ingredients for the potatoes:

3 lbs. 'A' size creamer potatoes, quartered
4 cups chicken broth
2 cans golden mushroom soup

1 stick butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 stick margarine
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Using a heavy 5-quart porcelain coated Dutch oven (or a glass Visions Dutch oven), heat the chicken broth, butter, salt and black pepper over a medium high flame until it comes to a slow boil. Then drop in the potatoes, stir them around thoroughly to coat them evenly with the stock, put the lid on the pot, and allow the spuds to poach until 95% done (you can expect this to take about 14-18 minutes).

When the potatoes are fork tender, remove them from the Dutch oven temporarily and set them aside. Then turn the fire up to high and evaporate the extra stock (causing it to concentrate)-you eventually want to end up with only about 2 cups of broth.

When the reduction is complete, with the fire still on low, stir in the stick of margarine and the two cans of golden mushroom soup and put half of the potatoes back into the pot. Now sprinkle on half of the cheddar cheese and, once again, stir the mixture to fully coat the potatoes. At this point, drop in the remainder of the potatoes and the rest of the cheese and stir once more. Then place the lid back on the pot, turn the fire off, and allow the potatoes to steep until the okra is fried.


Ingredients for the okra:

2 lbs. frozen pre-breaded okra*
48 oz. Canola oil

In a high-sided, 12-inch, frypan, pour in a little more than half of the Canola oil. Then, with the flame set at medium-high, bring the oil to temperature and begin deep-frying the okra, removing them from the oil only when they are golden brown. As the okra is taken from the pan, drain the individual pieces on several thicknesses of paper towels.

You're ready to eat when the okra is done!

Chef's Hints1-I recommend you serve up the okra piping hot right out of the oil, dish out a generous portion of potatoes alongside of it, and round out the plate with a juicy baked sirloin burger.

2-Use only ground sirloin or ground round for this recipe. Ordinary ground meat will either be too fatty and too greasy, or way too lean and dry.

3-For a little extra flavor, you can add about a half-cup or so of grated Parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs. It piques the overall taste and makes for a nice crust on the meat.

4-Parchment paper can be purchased at most supermarkets and will probably be found in the same section as the waxed paper and aluminum foil. It prevents food from sticking as it cooks and aids in speedy cleanup.

5-The potatoes are not peeled for this recipe. Just wash them and quarter them prior to cooking.

6-The best frozen, pre-breaded okra to get for this recipe is the kind you will find at the roadside produce stands. This is usually done by individual farmers and sold in special packages. Commercial packs are suitable for use, but they generally lack the depth and flavor captured in the local products. In the Greater New Orleans area, these packages can be purchased at the Farmer's Market on Magazine Street, at the French Market in both Slidell and Mandeville, or at Johnny Becnel's Produce in Belle Chasse.