When I started Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen and all along I have said, this is first and foremost a blog for those who really have no idea how to handle the mysteries in the kitchen. This past week the need for a bit of a return to basics became crystal clear in my house.
I have become a bit "too used to" buying frozen hamburgers in the Supermarket and then just throwing them in the oven to cook. Now while I do make sure they are labeled 100% meat and have no chemical junk inside, last week I happened to taste one of these wonders of modern food science - and that, as they say, was that. The various burger joints are much more pleasing to the palette than what I tasted.
Additionally, a great many "real" burger restaurants have opened up in Jerusalem, where they are serving some really good fare. BUT unless you can afford restaurant prices every night then this is not a long-term option.
There is one other point. When I was growing up in Manhattan, when supper was burgers, the burgers made by the woman who I always refer to as my second Mother, Thelma, were the most delicious hamburgers ever made on this planet. Indeed, anything Thelma cooked far outweighs any delicacy I have ever tasted.
But I am stubborn. And I know you can make a good, healthy burger. And I know people will eat good, healthy burgers and gobble them up! So for the Purim Seudah (the festive meal we eat on Purim - I made hamburgers - wanting to see what the reaction would be.)
I used 2.2 pounds (1 Kilo) of pure chopped meat for the burgers. The picture below represents one plate of 4 small burgers made a bit differently. And I will explain why in the recipe. But, this recipe is about going back to basics. There are no fancy tricks here. No great slights of the chef hand. This is how you can make great, healthy burgers for your family - and with a bit of imagination really add to the recipe and make a zillion different types of burgers with little or no effort.
- 2 Clean Hands
- Mixing Bowl
- Big Fork, Spoon or Flat Spatular
- Aluminum Foil
- 3 eggs - adds richness to meat (you can use just one egg if you are really worried!)
- Quarter to half cup of finely ground bread crumbs (from Supermarket) - adds consistency to the meat
- 1 Finely chopped onion
- 2 Pounds - (1 Kilo of pure ground meat) Completely Defrosted
- Place the meat in your mixing bowl.
- Drop in the three eggs and mix it all up.
- Put in the quarter cup of bread crumbs and mix it all up.
- Now the finely chopped onion - and mix it up.
- (Was that simple or was that simple?!!!)
- Okay - now the caveat - one of my daughters does not like eating anything with oil in it. (Diets etc.) And here is where you have to sacrifice if you have a child like this. Normally, you should place the aluminum foil on an oven pan and then put a very fine layer of oil on the foil so the meat does not stick to it. But I had to make most of the meat without the oil. Thus I did have some meat sticking to the foil at the end, (gave it to Rainbow, our Golden Retriever) and it did not make for the prettiest burgers in the world. BUT there was no oil and the burgers were all gone by the end of the meal. So if you do not have this problem now is the time to put that fine layer of oil - just a teeny weeny drop of it on the foil. (The picture above contains 4 small burgers I made with oil on the foil!)
- If you are more adept at this than I am, take a small handful of meat and pat it down and make it round for the burger - (My burgers never come out round. Sheesh!) Remember - around the size of mid-size palm and 1/4- 1/2 inch thick.
- The fatter the burgers are - the LOWER the temperature in your oven must be and the longer it will take to make them as you must attempt to have even cooking. Obviously the meat inside has to cook too without burning the meat on the outside first! Fat burgers just take patience - nothing more. (In my house we like medium - rare meat. I cannot touch well-done!) So if you are not experienced make the burgers medium sized. Don't go for the fat burgers just yet even though they are scrumptious!)
- Place all the burgers on the foil on the oven pan.
- Your oven should be at approximately 180 degrees Celsius (350 Far.) NO MORE! We want to cook these burgers not BURN THEM.
- 10 minutes for the first side - turn em over 8 minutes for the other side. 18 minutes burgers are done.
- Start to finish this whole process should take no more than 30 minutes if that much!
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Two stars for difficulty because there is an oven involved and timing. You can obviously play with this recipe. Add fresh ground garlic - or in a pinch garlic and onion salt. If you want, you can add a bbq sauce of your liking as well. Basil etc. are all good additions to the meat. The list is really endless and goes according to your imagination. But you really will never go wrong with a back-to-basic Hamburger. (And they are zillions times healthier even with the eggs, than any junk you buy in junk-fast-food places.) When you get experience make the real big fat burgers - with patience and a knowledge of your quirky oven - I will guarantee that you will be asked to make your "great" burgers again and again. I love easy - especially when CSI or Law & Order are going to be on TV!)