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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 22. September 17, 1968

Food — Hamburgers — home-style


Hamburgers — home-style

Mince, the chairman of the Australian Meat Board recently pointed out, it not very highly prized. If his recipe for cooking it is typical, mince is not likely to move into the truffles and foie gras class for some time.

Yet, intelligently treated, mince will respond well Home-made hamburgers, for example, can be cheap, tasty and easy to make. They have little in common with the slabs of over-cooked meat that are sold between soggy pieces of bread in the short-order establishments.

Here is a recipe for home-made hamburgers:

Mix about a cupful of diced onion into a pound of mince. Make a well in the mixture and sprinkle in about hall a teaspoon of salt and two teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper. Break an egg into the well and blend the whole thoroughly with a spatula

Press out the mixture into patties half an inch thick. (The hand is buy far the best implement for this.) Flour lightly on both sides, and fry in clarified butter over a moderate heat. Ordinary butter is also a suitable cooking medium, though the maximum cooking temperature is lower, as it contains readily-burned milk solids. Dripping or oil in the least suitable, but it you must use one of these, make sure it is fresh, and put the cooked hamburgers in a warm oven for a few minutes to drain.

It is essential not to overcook hamburgers—they should be pink and juicy in the middle, not brown and dry. Check on this by prising them open during cooking and having a look.

The wartime joke about Hamburg—"A German city pounded to mincemeat and roasted to a cinder"—is clearly the work of someone who knew much more about the Allied bombing offensive than he did about hamburgers.

An alternative to making hamburgers is to treat mince as if it were the sliced meat that goes into traditional be sautes such as beef stroganooff. Start by flouring the mince so that mast of the particles are separated, Brown lightly in clarified butter, and set aside. Lightly fry the other ingredients, such as onions, capsicums and mushrooms (30 second cooking time should be quite enough for mushrooms). When done remove these to one side and drain surplus fat from the pan and the partly cooked ingredients.

Return the ingredients to the pan, and partly cover with beef stock. Stir well, simmer until thickened, and season to taste before serving, Tomato puree, mustard, anchovy sauce are useful additions to this dish, but remember that commercially prepared stocks and sauce are often extremely salty—so use with caution. Experiment with the taste et a flavour you like.

You will notice that the usual floor and water afterthought is not used in this recipe. Whatever you are making, best results will be attained if the flour thickening is cooked in the fat before any water is added, If you are careful with the liquid, adding only a little at a time, you will never have to rescue a thin sauce.