I almost feel like this recipe is too simple to blog. But, unfortunately, after a couple of weeks of very little motivation to be in the kitchen and multiple failures when I have ventured into that particular room of the house, this is all I have to offer. I used to make hamburgers and meatballs with dry breadcrumbs and by adding raw onions and, when I used it, raw garlic to the raw meat mixture. However, that all changed when I made keftedes, Greek meatballs, from a recipe in an awesome Greek recipe book given to me by J. The book, which I would recommend highly, is called Culinaria Greece: Greek Specialities, edited by Marianthi Milona and published by h.f.ullman (2004/2007). This recipe uses the great ideas of pre-cooked onions and pre-soaked bread learned from that recipe. This makes six good sized burgers.
What you need:
1-2 slices of white bread
500-600 gram pack of beef mince
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Fresh or dried herbs – I used dried oregano
Salt and pepper
3 dessertspoons mayonnaise
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Squeeze of lemon juice
6 hamburger rolls and trimmings of choice, such as sliced lettuce and tomato.
What to do:
1. Put the bread in a bowl and cover with cold water to soak.
2. Chop the onions finely. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and then soften the onions in the hot oil.
3. Squeeze the water out of the bread (if you’re not sure, gather the soaked bread together in your hand and then squeeze it gently in the same way you might squeeze water out of a sponge) and then put the bread, cooked onions, mince and egg into a large mixing bowl with a generous sprinkling of herbs and some salt and pepper. Mush all the ingredients in the bowl together until they are fully combined. I do this by hand. It is a messy but fun business!
4. Divide the meat mixture into six roughly equal portions and then shape each portion into a hamburger patty. I find that the best way to do this is to shape each portion into a large ball and then to pat the ball flat, smoothing the edges into a circle every so often as I pat down the top and bottom.
5. Cook the hamburger patties by shallow-frying them in a frying pan with more hot oil, or lay them on a baking tray, on a sheet of greaseproof paper and bake in a pre-heated oven on gas mark 5 (190º C or 375º F) for about 30 to 40 minutes, turning once, or until brown on both sides and cooked through. Please excuse the terrible picture below – natural light had pretty much disappeared for the day by the time these had finished cooking.
6. To make the mustard mayonnaise, mix together thoroughly the mayonnaise, mustard and lemon juice. Taste and adjust each ingredient according to your preference.
7. To assemble, prepare your hamburger rolls according to your preference – my preference is lightly toasted and buttered – and then add a patty and a generous dollop of mayonnaise to each roll along with any other hamburger trimmings I have to hand. Eat immediately.