If you love a good burger but are leery of ground meat these days (if you are not, this NY Times article may give you pause), then here is your solution. This recipe is inspired by "The Julia Burger" in the excellent cookbook The New Steak by Cree LeFavour, who was herself inspired by Julia Child in a Jacques and Julia rerun.
The recipe itself is simple. Buy a good-quality steak (hangar, top blade, skirt, sirloin; mine is always organic and grass-fed, but whatever your personal preference and budget), estimating about 1/3 lb or a bit more per person. Trim any visible fat and cut into 2-inch cubes.
Break out your big food processor (the Cuisinart 14 cup size is perfect here), toss in the meat chunks, and add 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and lots of freshly ground pepper. Pulse the meat a few times, long enough to break up the big chunks and allow the meat to hold together.
Form your patties gently, without making them thicker than 1 1/2 inches and without squeezing them - you want them to be a little airy.
Now comes the fun part - cooking! You'll pan-fry them the same way we cooked steaks in the 3 Keys to Cooking a Perfect Steak at Home - take the biggest, heaviest cast-iron skillet you can find, turn the burner on high and spend 10 minutes doing something else. Slicing your tomatoes, making the guacamole, kicking back with a glass of wine - whatever it takes, just leave the skillet alone while it heats up until smoking. Around the same time, turn on the oven to 170 degrees - this will be your post-grilling warming oven.
Cree uses peanut oil for her burgers. To keep it paleo-friendly, I favor canola oil which can stand up to higher heat than olive oil before oxidizing.
Sear the burgers on high heat for 3 minutes on each side, with perhaps a minute more on each side at a lower flame. Then throw the whole skillet into the warming oven for 3-4 minutes to let the meat rest.
Avocado, guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes, grilled onions and mushrooms, you name it - everything goes well with these burgers (I eat mine over a salad and don't ruin it with cheese, but feel free). Enjoy with a fun, unpretentious wine like a Chianti, Merlot, or a Rioja!