Now, there’s a confusion of languages – once again courtesy of my … less than optimal … ability to translate Danish kitchen and cooking terms into colloquial English. What we’re looking at today is burger steaks – only, no burger buns will be in sight. If you go to Denmark, this is called “hakkebøf”.
The recipe is largely nicked from a newspaper article laying out how the chef at Copenhagen Michelin-star holding Thai restaurant Kiin Kiin makes this very non-Thai and essentially Danish dish. If you’re confused, don’t be – sometimes restaurant people just want a down-to-Earth solid meal before creating heaven on Earth for the rest of us 🙂
(aside: not that I have actually eaten at Kiin Kiin – something I must remedy at some point!)
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OK. Minced beef.
I had to de-learn some of the skills my Mother taught me here. Basically, when she did patties, she took the minced meat, cut it into the appropriate number of portions, kneaded a ball of each until it stuck well together and then flattened them on a cutting board. Sounds familiar? Do what I did, unlearn that.
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- The Connells, ’74-’75
Because when you do that, you get the fibers of the meat running in all directions – so when you fry it on the pan, they contract in all directions, leaving you with cannonballs instead of nice, flat steaks. Not what you want.
So, instead, look at the minced meat. All the wee “threads” of meat run in the same direction in the portion you brought home, whether from a butcher or a supermarket. And while we’re at it – for this, you do want minced meat with some fat in it – no less than 10% or it’ll go dry on you.
Cut the portion of meat in half, length-wise in the direction of the meat noodles. Stack the two halves and roll it into a solid, thick sausage. Only thing that is important is that what ran lenghtwise remains running length-wise.
Then cut the resulting cylinder of meat into pattie-slices of the desired thickness. Now, you have them with the meat fibres all vertical in each pattie as they go on the pan – and they will stay nicely flat and shaped as you want them. Also essential for burgers!
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Salt and pepper the meat.
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Sides. Basically, boiled potatoes and what we’d call “soft onions”. To start with the latter, peel and halve onions – in the order of one smallish one per person. Then, cut the onions into fine slices – lengthwise (this is getting an obsession, isn’t it?). Why? Don’t know – just do it, ok…
Start a pan with some oil or butter and fry the onions on medium/low heat for a long time – they should end up slightly brown on ends and edges but generally very golden and soft.
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Boil the potatoes – with or without peel according to your preferences and, possibly, season for potatoes (fresh do absolutely not need peeling imho; over-wintered potatoes … I’d peel them).
We also had some asparagus that needed eating – on a pan with them in olive oil and fry them, add salt at the end and serve.
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The beef patties goes on a pan that is not too much larger than what it takes to have them there. Start at quite high heat for a couple of minutes, then flip them over. Do remember salting and peppering them on the side that didn’t get any from the start.
Once they’re … sort of two/thirds done (and this is probably an iterative process over a couple of trial and errors), add cream to the pan until it’s about half or a bit less up the sides of the steaks. Throw a half or so cube of “instant broth” into the cream – and let the whole thing simmer until the meat is done. I prefer them still good and pink in the center – less red than real steaks but not truly well done.
If you wish, add a little caramel colouring to the sauce to make it nice and brown.
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Give each steak a wee spoonful of onions on top, then carry the pan to the table, serve with the potatoes and whatever vegetables you’ve chosen.
Goes well with a glass of red – or with beer. I’d absolutely enjoy it with my local IPA.
Photo courtesy of cyclonebill on Flickr