According to my understanding of the term, the whole point of a hamburger is that it is a meat patty with 100% beef - in which case these are not, strictly speaking, hamburgers at all. They are grilled meat patties, however, so I don't know what else to call them. Originally - in a modification on one of my mother's old recipes - I had planned to fry them with a breadcrumb coating, but at the last minute laziness converged with health conciousness and they got slapped on the cast-iron griddle; they could just as easily be barbecued or grilled, I think. In any case the result was plenty moist and succulent, with lots of gorgeous flavours (the secret is in the herbs and spices) and not too much fat. So here goes.

To feed 2 very hungry or 4 moderately hungry noders you will need:

  • 250gr (.5lb) lean minced beef
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • A few equally finely chopped mushrooms - the more you use the more you will bulk out the recipe; I used approximately the same volume of diced mushroom as I did onion.
  • Approx. 2 tablespoons chopped coriander
  • 1 large slice white bread
  • 1 egg
  • Salt n' peppa
  • 1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs (these could be any combination of stuff you have lying around, or a commercially available one like Herbs de Provence or Italian seasoning), especially sage and thyme, ground to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar
  • .25 teaspoon mild paprika (or spicy paprika if you like spicy)
  • A tiny pinch of cinammon
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, for frying
  • A heavy ridged iron skillet, preheated and almost smoking.

Then you should:

  1. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and start slowly sweating the onions.

  2. Take the bread slice and soak it for the duration in a small bowl full of cold water. In another small bowl, beat the egg.

  3. Now add the mushrooms to the onions and fry slowly, stirring occasionaly, until they are brown and the whole thing begins to smell savoury and delicious.

  4. Take the onion/mushroom mixture off the heat and let cool on a plate for a few minutes. In the meantime, place the mince in a large bowl and separate it a bit with a fork so it's not all one big lump.

  5. Take the bread out of the water and squeeze it tightly with your hands to get all the liquid out. Add to the mince along with the onion/mushroom goodness, the egg & the coriander. Sprinkle the seasoning and herbs/spices above.

  6. Now, you can do this next step with a spoon or maybe even with a food processor, but it's much more fun and effective to do it manually: stick one clean mitt straight into the bowl and start massaging, mixing and squidging all the lovely ingredients until they are evenly mixed together.

  7. Form the finished mixture into roundish patties of any desired size - mine were just about the same as the palm of my hand. Cook them on a hot griddle for about 4 minutes on each side - you can do it for less of you like your burgers rare, but whatever your tastes these don't take very long at all. If you wait for them to get that almost-burned look Burger King burgers have, you'll overcook them and that'll be a shame.

Serve in buns with dill pickle, tomato and mayonnaise or on a plate with your choice of starchy and veggy accompaniments. And HP sauce. Naturally.

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