July 20, 2007


Every so often we crave a good ol' American hamburger. You would think this is an easy thing to reproduce, right?

First, let's talk about the beef here in France. I'm sorry la France, but your beef just ain't that good. I can't tell you how many times I've broken down and ordered a bavette grillé or entrecôte thinking, "maybe it will be better this time," only to end up with a practically dislocated shoulder from having to saw my way through the piece of shoe leather lying on my plate. When will I ever learn? The sauces are good. Damn good. But the beef here really leaves something to be desired.

The cut used for haché (ground beef) is very lean, so hamburger making presents some challenges. To compensate for the lack of flavor and to make them nice and juicy, my burgers are bursting with ''stuff".

If we're in a spicy/Cajun mood
For one pound of ground beef:
cajun seasoning, 1 teaspoon
Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon
moistened bread crumbs, 1/4 cup
minced onion
minced garlic, 1 clove
minced chili pepper
an egg

For a French flavor
For one pound of ground beef:
Dijon mustard, 1-2 tablespoons (I love mustard, so often use more)
minced onion
minced garlic, 1 clove
minced capers, 1 tablespoon
moistened bread crumbs, 1/4 cup
an egg
freshly ground black pepper

No hamburger buns around here, so I buy a nice, fat bread to slice, like un gros pain. A baguette isn't wide enough and is too chewy. You gotta improvise! Sliced red onion and tomato are a must and we don't have an outdoor grill so I pan fry burgers or put them under the broiler.

Now if only we could find Hebrew National hot dogs! I do miss a good hot dog...

UPDATE: I wrote this post this morning and went to Intermarché this afternoon to pick up a few groceries and couldn't believe it...two different sizes of hamburger buns available! The packaging even had a little Statue of Liberty and an American flag on it. When did this happen? Is it the Americanization of France under Sarko?
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Samantha said...

No hamburger buns?? T'as pas de chance, toi! Our local store stocks three (yes, THREE) different kinds!

The Late Bloomer said...

Mmmm, your hamburger recipe sounds delicious! I really need to try that... I don't tend to buy ground meat here myself, but I've been meaning to give it a try, because I know they sell it for other recipes, like tomates farcies and things like that.

I agree that bavettes don't go over very big with me, but I tend to order beef cuts like rumsteak or filet, if at all possible -- I'm a bit picky with meat! If you ever want to treat yourself to a fabulous piece of red beef here, seek out a piece of Chateaubriand -- it's so tender it will melt in your mouth! (saignant, bien sûr)

katiez said...

You are so right about the beef - and the hamburger!
When we lived in Andorra the beef was worse... but they had 'country veal' which was AOC and excellent. It wasn't baby veal but yearlings that had been grazed in the high pastures. The regular beef was almost as dark as horsemeat, this was just a shade lighter in color than the beef here in France.
Hmmm, so there IS something I miss about Andorra... - oh yeah, we could get hamburger buns, too!

Loulou said...

well, I went to the store and had another look and voilà, there they were! I know I've looked for them before and they were no where to be found!

late bloomer
thanks for the tip! I hate a tough steak, so if Chateaubriand is nice and tender, I'll definitely try it!

well, I was wrong about the buns. AOC veal that grazed in the mountains? Sounds fabulous! Do you ever find it in France? We're a bit closer to Andorra down here, I wonder if I could ever order it.

mpabner said...

Whenever we make buffalo burgers - not the hot ones, actual buffalo - I add some ketchup for moisture. Then, like your recipes' I add an egg to hold it together.

Hope that helps.

Carolyn said...

Loulou - you might try a technique from a FRENCH recipe I have that I've made for years. You mix little tiny bits of butter into the hache to give it juice and flavor. Maybe it would help.

Loulou said...

thanks for the ketchup idea. never had buffalo...is it good?

bonne idée, merci! Never thought of adding butter but it sounds like it would really help the haché

Donna said...

Now, all the "French" restaurants around here are serving hanger steak, so I think of it as being very French. It is really tender and inexpensive (relatively). Do they have this there?

Loulou said...

yes, it's called 'onglet' here and meant to be cooked very quickly and no more than medium-rare. I'll try to order it next time I see it on a menu and tell you what I think!

mpabner said...

Buffalo is Delicious! It is very lean, but very flavorful. A little more "wild" tasting. But not nearly as gamey as venison, which I love as well.