Kate Heyhoe

Kate's Global Kitchen

by Kate Heyhoe


Hamburger Tips


Is your dad a "meat and potatoes" type of guy? In honor of Father's Day, I've picked a grilling recipe that combines meat and potatoes in one simple dish: Herbed Potato Burgers.

This recipe comes from The Food Lover's Guide to Meat & Potatoes, an inspiring little book that includes basic recipes for mouth-watering burgers, steaks and chops, and accompanies them with perfect potatoes of all kinds—fried, mashed, baked and boiled. Plus, it's got handy cooking hints, like the burger tips below. The recipes and the book make a great gift for the meat & potato lover in your family.

Kate Heyhoe


Burger Tips


When shaping hamburger patties, remember that there's more shrinkage in higher-fat meats than lean meats. So, when using ground chuck or regular ground beef, form the patties slightly larger than the diameter of the hamburger bun-they'll shrink down to just about the right size.

Overworking a mixture results in dense, heavy burgers. Mix ingredients only until they are combined; shape the patties quickly.

While shaping the patties, dampen 'Our hands with cold water and the meat won't cling to your fingers as much.

The way you shape and cook hamburgers is important. Thin, quickly cooked (over high heat) patties produce well-done burgers, with lots of crusty (seared) surface. Thick, slowly cooked patties yield succulent and juicy burgers.

Preheating the pan produces burgers with a flavorful seared surface.

Pressing down on a hamburger patty with a spatula doesn't speed the cooking, but it definitely squeezes out some of the juices.

To ensure food safety and guard against bacterial infection, cook burgers until well done.

The Food Lover's Guide to Meat & Potatoes
by Sharon Tyler Herbst
William Morrow, 1996
Hardcover, $18.00
Reprinted by permission.


Herbed Potato Burgers

Good news for cholesterol watchers: These burgers contain only two thirds the meat and have 100 percent flavor! and you can get away with using lean ground beef because the potatoes add the moistness that would normally be contributed by fat. How finely you grate the potatoes depends on how well done you want the burgers. The regular shredding disk on my food processor produces rather thick shreds that are still al dente by the time the burgers are done (I like the contrast in texture). If you prefer your potatoes softer or like burgers medium rare, finely shred the potatoes and shape the patties so they're no more than about 3/8 inch thick—that way the potatoes will be cooked through. Or if you want thicker but well-done potato shreds, lightly sauté the potatoes, cool, then mix them in with the meat.

Serves 6 to 8

2 pounds lean ground beef
1 pound russet or long white potatoes, shredded
2/3 cup packed basil leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup snipped chives
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until well combined. Shape into 6 to 8 (1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick) patties. Broil, fry or grill the burgers until done according to personal preference. If grilling, soak 2 cups wood chips in water to cover at least 1 hour before beginning to cook. When ready, light fire in outdoor grill according to manufacturer's directions. Just before beginning to grill, sprinkle drained wood chips over heat source. For a smokier-flavored burger, cover the grill during cooking.

Hidden Treasure Burgers: Make a pocket in the center of each hamburger patty. Insert a 1-ounce chunk of cheese; cover completely with meat mixture, securing all openings so cheese doesn't seep out when it melts during cooking. Some of my favorite cheeses include blue cheese, fontina, sharp cheddar, Cambozola and smoked Gouda.

Bacon Burgers: Add 1 cup crisply cooked, finely crumbled bacon to meat mixture.

Ham Burgers: Substitute 1 pound ground smoked ham for 1 pound of the ground beef.

A hamburger is warm, and fragrant and juicy... soft and nonthreatening.... A hamburger is companionable and faintly erotic.

     —Tom Robbins

Recipe from:
The Food Lover's Guide to Meat & Potatoes
by Sharon Tyler Herbst
William Morrow, 1996
Hardcover, $18.00
Reprinted by permission.

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This page originally published as a Global Gourmet Today column in 1998.

Copyright © 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.

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This page modified January 2007

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