I can’t even begin to count the number of times I have seen “McRonalds”, “WcRonalds” (or some equivalent) or “Max Burger” (a play on Mos Burger, a popular fast food hamburger chain in Japan) featured in anime… All those scenes of cute high school girls, groups of best friends, and the just plain hungry hanging out in burger joints and eating big, delectable looking hamburgers full of cheese, tomato, lettuce, and smothered in all sorts of yummy sauces never fails me make me hungry….
Most recently, I caught some really great scenes involving hamburgers in K-On!, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika, and Paprika, but the funniest use of hamburgers in recent memory can be found in Hataraku Maou-sama, episode 10, where the size of a giant double patty burger and flat single patty burger are used to compare Emi and Chiho’s breast sizes for maximum comedic effect….
About the recipe:
Rather than go to the local fast food hotspot for a burger and fries, I often like to make my own instead! While I don’t make anything super fancy, your run of the mill hamburger is surprisingly easy and quick to make!
For added interest, these hamburgers are simple to dress up, just by adding any manner of toppings, from caramelized onions and bacon to sauteed mushrooms and crispy pickles. I especially like serving them with homemade oven baked potato fries, just to complete the illusion of bringing the hamburger joint into the home.
Firstly: Don’t over mix. This is pretty much a great rule to always consider when cooking or (in particular) baking. In this case, because the breadcrumbs in the hamburger meat contains gluten, and gluten forms its strong bonds when moved around a lot (such as mixing or kneading), over mixing could result in tougher rather than more tender burgers.
Secondly: Indent the centres of the burgers before cooking. This step will help ensure that your burgers don’t become puffed up in the middle, as they are wont to do, and instead cook into more flat topped patties.
About the ingredients:
Bread crumbs are added to help keep everything in the meat patties together, which is especially useful if you use very lean ground beef. The breadcrumbs also help retain moisture in the burger while ensuring that the meat mixture is not overly wet (which can make it difficult to shape the patties).
But, if you have a dietary restriction against gluten or breadcrumbs, you can always skip this ingredient. Your burgers will still end up tasting great!
Makes 4 burgers (~6 oz each)
For the hamburger patties:
- 1.5 lb lean ground beef
- 1 egg
- 1/2 onion, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 3 tbsp bread crumbs
- Salt and pepper
- 4 hamburger buns
Potential toppings and condiments:
- Caramelized onions
- Sauteed mushrooms
- Fried egg
- Avocado or guacamole
- BBQ sauce
- Raw red onion
1. Mix all of the hamburger patty ingredients together until just combined. Divide into 4 even portions and shape into round, flat disks, about 3/4 of an inch to 1 inch thick. Optionally, use your hamburger buns as a rough guide to approximate the diameter of the patties, ensuring that the raw meat is shaped slightly larger than the diameter of the bun, to account for shrinkage during cooking.
Place shaped patties on a plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.
2. To cook the hamburger patties, preheat a barbecue, cast iron grill pan, or frying pan on medium-high. Lightly grease your preferred heat source, and add in the raw hamburger patties so that they do not touch. Indent the centre of the meat slightly using a finger.
Turn the heat down to medium, and cook until about 3/4 of the meat around the edge of the patty is no longer red and has turned opaque, about 5 minutes.
Flip the patties and cook the second side until the meat springs back when pushed in, about 4-5 minutes. If you wish to add melted cheese, layer cheese on top of the patties in the last two minutes or so of cooking. (Cheese can also be added by quickly broiling the patties in the oven, after it has rested for at least 5 minutes.)
Remove burger patties from your heat source, place on a plate covered loosely with foil, and let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
3. While the patties are resting, toast your hamburger buns, if desired. Place a meat patty on the bottom half of the hamburger bun.
Serve with your choice of toppings and condiments. Pairs perfectly with fries.