Hamburgers come in many sizes and flavours. Recently I’ve been experimenting with chickpeas, which was hugely successful. Chickpea burgers taste incredibly wholesome. They also make you feel good, not because you’re suddenly energised but because you know that what you are eating is good for you. But there’s nothing quite as good as a beef mince hamburger. The thing hamburgers have over their vegetarian counterparts, is the juiciness that ends up on your chin. And not just your chin. It tends to spread down your hands. A good hamburger has you holding onto it until you’ve finished, because putting it down can spell disaster. Not only do you run the risk of it falling apart, but with mucky hands, the only thing you can really reach for is a napkin.
I’ve been using this Jamie Oliver (Return of the Naked Chef) recipe for ever. I love it because the hamburger mixture has a whole lot of flavour with the addition of mustard, cumin and coriander seeds. I never put onion in meatballs, but to my mind, a hamburger isn’t a hamburger unless it has finely chopped onion in the mixture. The recipe suggests you cook them in the oven, but I use a frying pan on top of the stove. The benefit is they end up with crunchy bits that makes them even better. They work well on the barbecue too.
Hamburgers tend to get a bad wrap and that’s largely down to fastfood chains and their use of high-fat content mince, sugar and salt. Make them at home and it’s a whole different story. Low fat mince, loads of salad, and forget the mayonnaise. I spread harissa on the hamburger to increase the flavour, but you might also like tomato chutney or tomato sauce if you must. Use a sourdough roll and it’s even better.
The other great thing about hamburgers is, the salad you top the burger with is up to the individual. If someone doesn’t like tomato, or carrot, or cucumber, or whatever…it doesn’t impact on anyone else. And when you are cooking for six, this flexibility is a bonus. Not only do they get to eat only the bits they like, they get to put it all together themselves. I’ve always put everything on the table, leaving everyone to make their own. When they were little they needed a little encouragement to include particular salad items, now it’s a case of ‘how are you going to get your mouth around that!’ because all options are piled on top.
We love these hamburgers. I’m sure you will too. Enjoy!
- 1 kg minced beef
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 2 eggs
- 1-2 handfuls of fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, crushed
- ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
- 1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- sliced tomato, cucumber
- grated carrot
- and a variety of condiments - tomato sauce, chutney, harrisa or whatever takes your fancy.
- Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix together.
- Divide into large balls (a bit smaller than a tennis ball).
- Heat a splash of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the meatballs, squash them flat and fry until brown. Flip over and cook the other side. (You'll need to cook them in batches, so cover the cooked ones in foil while you fry the rest.)
- Alternate cooking method: preheat the oven to 230 degrees celsius. Place the flattened hamburgers on a baking tray and roast for 25 minutes.