Recipe: Award-winning Moodlander burger from Visa Wellington on a Plate festival

Mouth-watering burgers are the stars of the Visa Wellington on a Plate festival this month. But for those who will miss out on this burger-mad feast, we present the award-winning Moolander, an exclusive extract from Lucy Corry’s  new book, Burger Wellington. 

Review by: Kate Coughlan

“A book on burgers… really Lucy, is there enough to fill a book?” we asked NZ Life & Leisure Taste editor Lucy Corry when she announced she was busy writing a book on hamburgers.

Well, yes, it turns out that there are so many ways to put together a bun, a meat patty, saucy vegetables and a dash or two of condiment that our excitement for this humble dish now knows no bounds.

August is Burger Month for thousands of lucky Wellingtonians who, as part of the Visa Wellington on a Plate festival, chow down on  115,000 burgers in just 17 days. After a quick flick through Lucy’s book Burger Wellington, I’m surprised they stop at 115,000. Her compilation of Wellington’s favourite burger recipes, both old and new, have our taste buds on the full salivate setting.

This weekend I’m going for The Moolander which stars several of my all-time favourite foods including mushrooms, slow-roasted tomatoes and parmesan cheese. All these delights, and onion jam, Agria fries and a slice of warmed gruyere. Stop it right now, can I even wait for the weekend? I could rush straight to Wellington’s Portlander Bar & Grill where it has, according to Lucy, been on the menu since The Moolander made the Burger Wellington finals in 2014.

But it’s a long way to Wellington from Auckland, so I’ll try making my own version instead. With dozens of recipes for burgers (vegetarian, beef, lamb, pork and even sweet), it might be hard to choose just one.

More stories you might like:
Recipe: Nadia Lim's Carrot, Tamarind & Coconut Soup

Burger Wellington: The Best Burgers from New Zealand’s Culinary Capital
Produced by: Wellington Culinary Events Trust
Author/editor: Lucy Corry
Photography: Jeff McEwan
Published by: Mary Egan

Recipe by Portlander Bar and Grill 

Serves 4
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Note: Onion jam, mushroom sauce, roast tomatoes and parmesan crisp can all be made in advance.

4 brioche burger buns
6 tbsp aioli or mayonnaise
4 large cos lettuce leaves
2 slices of gruyere cheese

Onion jam
2 tsp vegetable oil
20g unsalted butter
1 large brown onion, finely sliced
5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
50g brown sugar

Mushroom sauce
40g butter
4 tsp vegetable oil
1 small brown onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced
150g white button mushrooms, sliced
4 tbsp white wine
200ml beef stock
100ml cream
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Roast tomatoes
4 tsp vegetable oil
4 small vine tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
8 sprigs fresh thyme

Parmesan crisp 
100g grated parmesan

Hand-cut Agria fries
4 large Agria potatoes, peel and cut into long, chunky chips
oil for deep frying
40g powdered parmesan
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp truffle oil
sea salt for seasoning

Wagyu beef patties
800g Wagyu beef mince
sea salt and black pepper
3 tbsp vegetable oil


TO MAKE ONION JAM: Set a pan over medium heat and add oil, butter and onion. Saute until onion is translucent, then add balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Lower heat and cook until vinegar and sugar are syrupy and onion is very soft. Cool and set aside. This can be done in advance and refrigerated in a sterilised jar for up to one week.

More stories you might like:
Recipe: Greens and Feta Pancakes

TO MAKE MUSHROOM SAUCE: Set a small pan over a medium heat. Add butter and oil, followed by onion and garlic. Sauté until translucent, then add mushrooms and cook until soft. Pour in wine and let it reduce by half, then add beef stock. Let this reduce by half, then add cream and reduce by half again. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. This can be done in advance and refrigerated in a covered container for up to three days.

TO MAKE ROAST TOMATOES: Heat oven to 130°C. Set a pan over high heat and add vegetable oil. Season cut sides of tomatoes with sea salt and black pepper, then carefully add to pan. Cook for approximately 40 seconds then turn tomatoes over. Drizzle each half with olive oil and top with a sprig to thyme. Transfer to oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft and starting to shrivel. Remove from heat and set aside.

TO MAKE PARMESAN CRISP: Heat oven to 160°C and line an oven tray with baking paper. Arrange grated parmesan into four even circles approximately 4cm in diameter, leaving space of 4cm between each circle. Bake for about 3½ minutes or until cheese bubbles and turns golden. Remove from the oven and set aside at room temperature to dry. This can be done in advance; let crisps cool completely before storing in an airtight containers for up to three days.

TO MAKE HAND-CUT AGRIA FRIES: Put potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Season with salt, then bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for four minutes. Drain well and leave to dry in a colander. While the potato is still hot, fry them in a deep pot three-quarters filled with oil set over a high heat until crisp (about seven minutes). Remove chips from oil and allow to dry on absorbent paper. Tip chips into a bowl and season with sea salt. Add parmesan powder and oils and toss well before serving.

More stories you might like:
Recipe: Jamie Oliver's Avocado Pastry Quiche

TO MAKE WAGYU BEEF PATTIES: Put mince in a bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Shape into four even-sized patties, 12cm in diameter. Set a large, heavy pan over a medium-high heat and add vegetable oil. Cook patties for 2½ minutes each side, then remove to a tray to rest for a further three minutes.

Heat oven to 180°C. Top each burger patty with a generous amount of mushroom sauce, followed by a slice of gruyere. Warm through in the oven for three minutes until patties are hot in the middle and cheese has melted. While patties are warming through, toast burger buns. Spread the cut side of the bun bottoms with onion jam and spread the tops with aioli. Place one lettuce leaf on bottom of each bun, followed by two roast tomato halves. Gently put patties on top followed by bun lids. Serve immediately with hand-cut fries and parmesan crisps.

This recipe is by Portlander Bar and Grill, Corner Whitmore Street and Featherston Street Wellington 6011, New Zealand

Discuss This Article
Send this to a friend