Shroom Rarebit Burger

This is also another congregation of useful recipes which has gifted us an amazing, cohesive lunch. The portabellos happened to come in our veg box this week, and are peppered through many cookbooks for their burger-suitable proportions, but you could equally use your crimini, shitake or chantarelles and make a sloppy Joe of the thing. We have pulled apart the Worstershire sorcery of the rarebit and used the tamarind, sweet garlic and onion along with some good mustard, pokey sheep’s cheese and organic local ale, and since we are happily spicing we have paired it with some amazing, quick fried, Kashmiri spuds (our Ayurvedic take on chips/fries) and our turmeric ketchup.

A surprising hero of this plate, though, is the brioche bun, made without the usual sugar or overnight chilling of the dough to make it shape-able, and topped off with a sprinkling of sesame, nigella and caraway seed. It is ten minutes in the prep and an hour and a half in the proving and baking, but it does not disappoint. My wife doesn’t do well with wheat, so whenever I crack a typically light, airy and wheat-y recipe in a wheat-free way, I get a big reaction – and this bun hit that high note with her, and was thus duly noted by me. A cheap and deep burger and chips that is nothing but good for body and soul.


For the brioche buns:
110g white spelt flour
2 tsp active yeast
50g organic butter
40ml goat’s milk
A good pinch of sea salt
1 egg
A few sesame, nigella and caraway seeds
(makes 4 buns)
For the rarebit:
A small knob of butter
A drizzle of good rapeseed oil
3 tsp of white spelt flour
Goat’s milk
80g firm, strong sheep’s cheese such as a young pecorino
¾ tsp of tamarind paste
1 large clove of garlic
½ small red onion
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp of cayenne pepper / chilli powder
1 heaped tsp of Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
50ml good, organic ale / bitter
(There will likely be rarebit left over. It is happy in the fridge for a good few days and very happy spooned on good bread and toasted under the grill until bubbling.)

For the burger:
1 portabello mushroom per person
Rapeseed oil
Sea salt
A pinch of dried thyme
½ a thinly sliced shallot to dress
A handful of seasonal leaves or lettuce. (We are using some very peppery rocket from the garden).

For the fries:
5 or 6 small seasonal potatoes, un-peeled, scrubbed and thinly sliced
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp chilli powder
Sea salt
1 tbsp ghee


  • 1 For the brioche buns, combine the flour, yeast, salt, milk and egg in a normal blade food processor (you don’t need any kind of bread hook attachment) and mix for 3 or 4 minutes until well combined and smooth. Add the butter and mix for as further 2 minutes
  • 2 Dollop your mixture onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper in 4 rough bun shapes. Perfect shaping is difficult and unnecessary here, but 4 even, fairly round hills of mixture is fine. Leave for 1 hour in a warm place without covering after which the top of each bun will have firmed enough to egg wash
  • 3 Scatter the egg washed buns with a few sesame, nigella and caraway seeds
    Bake in an oven well preheated to gas mark 6 for about 15 minutes until golden brown and sound hollow to a tap on the base
  • 4 Make your rarebit topping: Melt the butter with a good drizzle of rapeseed oil in a small saucepan. Add the spelt flour and combine into a roux or paste. Add small amounts of goat’s milk and stir until your sauce thickens each time until you have a decent, thickened quantity
  • 5 Add your cheese, tamarind, mustard and spices with your ale and combine, keeping on a low heat
  • 6 In a frying pan fry your (crushed and sliced) garlic with the red onion in a little rapeseed oil for 6 or 7 minutes, stirring constantly. Add to your rarebit sauce and remove from the heat
  • 7 Allow to cool completely. It will thicken a great deal to allow you to more easily top your mushrooms and become the perfect texture again when you grill it later
  • 8 For the fries scatter a large plate with half of your spices and salt. Arrange your sliced potatoes on the plate and scatter the other half of the spices over the top ensuring a decent coating on both sides.
    Heat your ghee in a wide, smoking hot frying / casserole pan and drop in your potatoes. Sizzle for a minute or so until well coloured on one side and flip each slice to colour the other. Remove to an ovenproof dish and keep warm in your oven on the lowest setting until your burgers are ready
  • 9 Heat a griddle pan until it is smoking hot. Use a frying pan if you don’t have a griddle. A barbecue is even better. Rub a mushroom per person in a little rapeseed oil, sea salt and dried thyme and drop on the griddle / grill. Allow your mushrooms to give out their liquid, soak them up again and cook for a minute after, turn, do the same and remove to your grill pan
  • 10 Top the mushrooms with a generous covering of your cooled rarebit and heat them under the grill until the rarebit is bubbling and well coloured
  • 11 While you are grilling the mushrooms throw your chopped shallots on the hot griddle for a minute or two until caught and crisp. Set aside your shallots and toast your sliced brioche buns on the griddle with a pan lid over them to allow them to also steam a little. This will give you a perfect burger bun texture
  • 12 Arrange your burgers; a base of seasonal leaves, your bubbling rarebit topped mushroom and a pile of crisp, charred shallots. Retrieve your fries from the oven. Enjoy