Another comfort food dinner. We really like this one too and it is super quick to cook. The flavour can be changed up a lot in the hamburger patties also.
Cooking with recipes is the way to start cooking, we should feel free to experiment though. A recipe may call for onions but perhaps we don’t like them. So we see a recipe for something that we think we may like, but it has onions so we don’t try it. With most recipes we can leave some items out or change them and it will still work out, or maybe be even be better.
We can be tricky too, veggies are not always loved by finicky eaters. even dads sometimes will shake their head and say they are not a rabbit….
but we can sneak the goodness of veggies into some foods and increase the taste, but don’t tell the finicky eaters this, or they will say they won’t try it.
Blenders are great for adding secret flavour and sneaking in some nutrition.
so, on with the recipe. woooot.
When cooking hamburger it is important to be sure we cook it well. We should take its temperature. While a rare hamburger may be a juicy thing, it can also be a dangerous thing. Hamburger, all ground meats including sausage, has a lot of surface area and all of this comes in contact with many objects, maybe a lot of hands too… While the surface of the burger may be cooked, if it is rare the center is not, so that meat, that was once handled many times in processing, before you bought it, may have been exposed to various bacteria. Cooking will kill that bacteria and make it safe to eat, but rare doesn’t kill it. Temperatures need to be taken at the center of the thickest part of the burger, it is wise to make it even so there are no thick parts, otherwise we dry out the thin edges to cook the center. Flat burgers are better. They can be thick, but even.
All ground meats should be cooked to 160 F or even a bit more. Yes that may dry the food out a bit, but knowing this in advance we can increase the moisture of the patties so they will still be juicy, but safe.
Handling ground meats too, we should be careful, wash the cutting board if we use it, before and after its use, Our hands should be washed often too, each time we handle the meat, we should wash again. If we put the raw patties on a plate, which we do, before cooking them, we need to wash that plate when the patties are taken off of it and not put the cooked patties there until it is washed.
lecture over, lol on to the recipe.
The list of stuff:
One pound of lean ground beef or chicken, or turkey or pork. (see flexible, they all work)
One small onion (optional)
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs – If you don’t have dry bread crumbs, you can toast some bread, let it dry out in the toaster and chop or break it up into tiny crumbs. However, bran or wheat germ can be used instead, is more healthy and tastes much better. Crackers can also be used, but they are often salted, so be careful when salting later. The bread crumbs soften and break up the meat a bit so it is not so tough, using just the ground meet makes a hard patty.
1 egg yolk
2 cloves garlic (optional)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup cheese – grated (optional) This adds lots of moisture for a juicy patty and tons of flavour. Robust full cheese for beef, more gentle cheese like Havarti for chicken or turkey.
1 cup fresh mushrooms (optional)
2 tablespoons Ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, BBQ sauce or even some salad dressings. Any of these, not all of them at once, can be used to flavour the patties, even mustard though add maybe only a teaspoon of that… and not heaping.
spices and herbs, this can vary, add what you like. Thyme, Oregano, Basil, poultry spice. We don’t need much, maybe 1/2 a teaspoon.
Salt and Pepper.
4 or so potatoes for mashing, though this is good on noodles or rice too.
If you wish you can sneak some other veggies in the patties. This will add a lot of nice flavour too, but you will need a blender so you can make them more like a paste. Any bell peppers (red, yellow or green) Carrots or even broccoli, Parsnips too. If you blend them very fine you can add a half cup to a cup of them to the mix. They will add moisture and so much more taste. We won’t tell them it is good for them. 😉
How to do it:
Chop up the onions, garlic, mushrooms quite small, you can even use a blender or food processor to make them super fine or even a paste if you want to hide them. If you don’t have to hide the onions, they are nicer in just a fine chop.
In a large bowl mix the ground meat with the egg yolk, the bread crumbs and the other ingredients you choose. Why only the yolk? The egg acts as a glue to keep the patty together, the white can make it tough though, the yolk adds some moisture and flavour but doesn’t make the patty tough. This is a secret, so don’t tell anyone. 😉 If you are sneaking in some more veggies, add them now.
Wash your hands and get in there squishing everything together, make sure it is well mixed. When it is all mixed up, form into patties that are all the same thickness and as flat as you can make them. Squeeze them tight so they don’t fall apart. Maybe 3/4 to an inch thick
I like to have a plate prepared with a bit of flour and some spices and herbs that I coat the patties in. Salt and pepper too, but not too much. It adds a nice flavour to the patties.
Place them on a plate.
Peel, chop and boil your potatoes. We covered mashed potatoes last time, so I won’t repeat how to prepare them, just remember that if you add milk to them to make them more creamy, it is best to not add cold milk as it makes them more glue like. Warm milk doesn’t do that. Another trick, shhhhh. don’t tell anyone. We don’t want everyone to be able to make great mashed potatoes like you will.
In a large pan at a medium high heat melt three tablespoons of butter. Remember butter burns fast so not a high heat. As soon as it melts place the patties carefully in the pan. Resist the urge to flatten them with the spatula, this just squeezes the juice out of the patties. Cooking time will vary with the size of your patties, flip them carefully so they don’t burn after a couple of minutes, lower the heat if they are cooking too fast. Flip them again and start taking the temperature of the patties. I check each one as some cook faster than others, it takes but a second to do and then you are sure. If you don’t have a thermometer you will have to cut into a patty carefully, if there is no red showing they are cooked. This is a bit harder with chicken or turkey though.
As the patties cook I often add a bit of wine… This makes the gravy yummy. Perhaps a 1/4 cup. Red or white.
When they are cooked, remove them from the pan on to that “clean” plate. Now to make the gravy using the juice in the pan. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and mix it with the fat and juice that is there over a medium low heat. Let it cook a minute and keep stirring. Add a half a cup of water slowly, I do this with the pan off the heat until it is all mixed up, then heat it until it bubbles and it will thicken. Presto, gravy. taste it to see if it needs any salt or pepper. If it is too thick you can drizzle in some more water.
Don’t forget the veggies or a nice salad. 😉
If everyone likes onions, adding another small chopped onion when you add the patties can add lots of nice flavour, then you have fried onions in your gravy.