Friday, September 17, 2010

The Humble Hamburger

A patty can make or break a burger. It cannot be rubbery or tasteless. It must be moist and somewhat juicy, but still firm. The flavours must compliment the garnish and yet be strong enough to stand out. There is a lot to consider and a lot more to a hamburger than cooking a few store bought patties or buying a burger from your local Steers. Making a burger is an art - there should have been a painting dedicated to this humble handheld meaty morsel or at least an ode, or sonnet or song.

Early memories of homemade hamburgers have been cemented in my mind. Friday nights were always take away nights, but we preferred homemade patties - there was something grossly therapeutic about squishing minced beef between the fingers, adding onions, egg and bread crumbs and playing patty cake until a gorgeous round shape was formed - frying this in a little oil and stacking a roll as high as possible with lettuce, tomato, cheese, gherkins and tomato sauce and somehow maneuvering this monstrosity into the mouth, usually by unlocking the jaw. Dribbles of tomato sauce juices down the chin were the only tell-tale sign of a well enjoyed dinner.

No more cheese, or gherkins or tomato sauce for me. But now, new memories need to be created.

On Friday night, we felt like homemade hamburgers - which rocketed me straight back to childhood. It felt a little like paint by numbers as I recalled the steps from memory - although with tweaks to suit my new lifestyle.

Homemade Hamburger Patties:
(Makes +/- 6 Depending on Size)


500g Lean Beef Mince
1.5 Onions, Finely Diced
A Handful of Fresh Thyme Leaves
A Teaspoon Chilli Flakes
Herbal Salt and Pepper
A Little Olive Oil for Frying

Step 1: Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Step 2: Fry onions until golden
Step 3: Add onions to mince along with thyme, chilli, herbal salt and pepper
Step 4: Squish between your fingers to mix well
Step 5: Shape mince into patties
Step 6: Cook in the oven for about 5 minutes on each side
Step 7: Turn the grill on and grill for about 5 minutes on each side until charred

Serve on a gluten free roll or bread with rocket, avo, tomato and a drizzle of basil oil and homemade chips with lots of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice

The bread in the picture is Mrs Bread Care's rice bread. It is delicious and tastes like ordinary bread! It is made from sourdough and is yeast fresh, dairy free, gluten free and egg free. You can find her at the Bryanston Organic Market and her products are also at Fruits and Roots and Fresh Earth.

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