Region – Northern Germany, all over Germany
Do I dare touch the History of the Hamburger and the Hamburger Steak?
Hamburger (Steak) in the context of this recipe refers to a meat paddy made and formed from ground/minced beef or mixed ground beef/pork.
There are several theories where the word Hamburger originated, and the most likely ones are that it is indeed the city of Hamburg in northern Germany who is the namesake of the Hamburger. (BTW, my hometown; but no bias there.)
Traditionally, in Hamburg (and other parts of Germany) a spiced and fried ground meat paddy served with (but
not necessarily on) a roll and mustard is a popular snack. Immigrants from Germany are believed to have brought the Hamburger to the USA.
Yet another theory claims that the meat was preserved with salt and used as rations for the poor on their long journey to the USA.
The paddy being placed between a roll with veggies and sauces is clearly an America invention, yet the Hamburger Steak, the predecessor of today’s Hamburger, indeed originated in Hamburg.
The word Hamburger Steak appeared on the menu of the New York Restaurant Delmonico’s in 1834 and was later found in US cookbooks for the first time as early as 1842.
This recipe combines the Hamburger steak with a warm potato salad. For the Hamburger Steak in this dish, ground beef and pork spiced using a variety of condiments is used.
And yes, a person from Hamburg is indeed called a Hamburger (but only if the person was born there).
Here is my variation of the recipe:
Serves: 4 – 6 Difficulty: Easy Preparation time: 60 mins.
For the Hamburger Steak:
- 70 g (2.4 oz) of bread crumbs
- 100 ml (1/2 cup) of milk
- 125g (4.5 oz) breakfast bacon finely chopped/minced
- 3 shallots, very finely chopped or grated
- 2 garlic cloves
- 25 g (1 TBS) butter
- 300g (10.6 oz) ground / minced beef
- 200g (7 oz) ground / minced pork
- 1 whole egg
- 2 TBS Dijon mustard
- 3-4 TBS of dried mixed mushrooms or dried porcini / penny bun mushrooms
- 2 twigs of fresh thyme
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- 50g (3 ½ TBS) clarified butter
For the warm potato salad:
- 1kg (35 0z) of small, young potatoes (the smallest you can get)
- 50 ml (0.2 cups) of white wine vinegar
- 50 ml (0.2 cups) of hot meat broth (I use organic instant beef broth)
- 1 onion very finely chopped
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 125g (4.4 oz) breakfast bacon bits, finely chopped
- 4 TBS of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 4 TBS of fresh dill, finely chopped
- 4 TBS of wild chives, cut into thin rings
- 125g (4.4 oz) of sour crème
- 2 medium pickled gherkins (sweet and sour) finely chopped
- 2 TBS of pickle juice
- 1 TS of medium hot mustard
- Freshly ground salt and pepper, 1 TS of sugar
- Parsley, chives and medium heat mustard for decoration.
The Hamburger Steaks:
Place 3-4 TBS of dried mixed mushrooms or dried porcini / penny bun mushrooms into a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak for 1 hour.
Place 70 g (2.4 oz) of bread crumbs into a large mixing bowl, add 100 ml (1/2 cup) of milk, blend well and let soak for 10 minutes. If the mixture is too dry add additional milk. The dough should be soft and malleable. Finely chop 7 mince 125g (4.5 oz) breakfast bacon, peel and finely chop or grate 3 shallots. Press 2 garlic cloves through a garlic press. Heat 1 TBS of butter in a frying pan, add bacon and fry for 2 minutes, add garlic and shallots and glaze for another 1 minutes. Remove from frying pan and let cool.
Bring potatoes for potato salad to a boil (see section on potato salad)
Drain water from mushrooms and squeeze out excess water. Finely chop mushrooms until you almost have a paste like consistency.
Add 1 egg, 2 TBS of Dijon Mustard and mushrooms, 300g (10.6 oz) ground / minced beef and 200g (7 oz) ground / minced pork to the soaked bread crumbs. Season very very well with freshly ground salt and pepper. Mix all ingredients until you have an even meat dough.
Preheat oven to 140°C or 280°F
Form meat into 8 evenly sized round paddies.
Melt 50g (3 ½ TBS) Clarified Butter in a frying pan, add 2 twigs of fresh thyme to fat and fry meat paddies 3 minutes on each side on medium heat. Pay attention to turn them regularly so they don’t become too dark.
Remove from pan, place on a plate and put into the pre-heated oven for 15 -20 minutes
The potato salad:
Thoroughly wash 1kg (35 0z) of small, young potatoes (the smallest you can get) but do not peel them. Cut potatoes that are too large into halves or quarters. Place in a large boiling pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to 1/3 of maximum power and let cook for 20 minutes.
Drain potatoes, rinse once with cold water and set aside.
Add drained potatoes into a large bowl; add 50 ml (0.2 cups) of white wine vinegar, 50 ml (0.2 cups) of hot meat broth and 1 finely chopped onion.
Heat oil in a frying pan, and fry bacon until golden brown. Season with salt, pepper and a TS of sugar. Add and briefly heat the following ingredients: 4 TBS of fresh parsley, finely chopped, 4 TBS of fresh dill, finely chopped, 4 TBS of wild chives, cut into thin rings, 2 medium pickled Gherkins (sweet and sour) finely chopped.
Add 125g (4.4 oz) of Sour Crème, 2 TBS of pickle juice and 1 TS of medium hot mustard. Mix everything well in pan, heat the sauce but don’t boil excessively. Taste and season with freshly ground salt pepper and vinegar or additional pickle juice, if needed.
Pour sauce over potatoes, mix carefully until evenly covered and set aside for 15 minutes.
On a plate, arrange potato salad and two steaks. Decorate meat with fresh thyme and place a little bit of mustard on the plate.