Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Flatty Patty" Smothered Burgers

When most folks think of a burger patty, they picture biting into a thick, juicy, monster sized round of meat nestled within a hearty, sesame seed bun. Just picture it … great grill marks, beefy juices, charbroil aroma. Gigantic hunks of meat to satisfy the hunger pangs of a lumberjack, and also test the mettle of your arteries. Ahhh. Burrrr-gerrrrs.

Well, ahem, toss those images right out of your mind. Go on, erase those thoughts. There will be no photos or write ups about a thick, monster sized burger here. Instead, tonight’s menu consisted of flatty patty burgers sans buns. This is gluten-free, all the way, baby!

When I was a kid, my beautiful Italian mother used to fry up these wafer thin little burger patties for me. I’d have them for lunch or dinner, either plain or with sliced garden tomatoes. Sometimes she’d even serve it at breakfast alongside buttery grits. Of course, back in Indiana, we used to buy our meat from the butcher shop ... beef raised on local farms. We used to get our milk from the dairy farm, too. In those heavy glass bottles with the paper cap. The cream used to float at the top of the bottle. Sunset Hill Farms was the name of the farm. Gooood stuff.

These flat beauties cook up super fast, and for tonight’s dinner, were smothered with sharp cheddar pub cheese, caramelized onions, and sautéed mushrooms. They were sooo good, and if you try this recipe, you’ll be thanking the good Lord for beef. My offspring ate theirs plain, and gobbled down every bit. Hey, that’s two nights in a row they loved their dinner. Will they have to forfeit their Picky Eaters Club Membership Cards? More thoughts on that later.

To enjoy Flatty Patties in your own home, you will need:

1-1/2 lbs ground beef (I used the 15% fat variety because I grilled them. If you fry them, use the less fatty stuff)
Plate or ceramic cutting board
Your favorite seasoning (Montreal Steak Seasoning, Season Salt, or good ole Sea Salt and pepper work just fine)
Pub Cheese – sharp cheddar

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Onion – sliced in thin half rounds
2 cups sliced mushrooms

To make the burgers, wash your hands and leave them wet. Rub your wet hands on the plate surface. You will need to do this repeatedly as you form the patties. The flatty patties are so thin that they will stick to the surface of the plate unless it is wet.

With wet hands, take a small, egg sized portion of meat, and working quickly, compact it in your hands, and then flatten it on the plate. Really press down with either your fingers or the heel of your hand. Geez, I really need a manicure. But hey, this is what happens when you work in the garden, or yard, or laundry room, or some other chore like, say, typing on the keyboard. Hehe. . Ahem, let’s get back to the burgers.

See how flat they are? Don’t worry about making perfect rounds. The rough edges give the burgers character. No holes allowed in the burger, though. Work fast and keep the meat cool prior to cooking. The meat stays together better when cold.

The burgers will flatten out fairly large. They will shrink A LOT during cooking.

Place them on a preheated grill on high heat. Turn the heat down to med high, close the lid, and grill 3 minutes. Flip and grill another 3 minutes. Turn off grill. Remove flatty patties and keep warm. (I put mine on a baking sheet and put them back on the warm grill with the lid closed). And for those of you who, like my friend Marjie, don't like grill marks on your food, these flatty patties can be cooked in the broiler. My mom fried them on the stove! This photo is not the best representation of the grilled burgers. But my beasts were hungry and begging for their food … “Can you stop taking pictures so we can eat noooowww?”

I just love those rough edges. I want to break off and nibble on that one little piece sticking out right there. And juicy ... you bet. This is not cardboard folks. It's glorious beef.

Now prepare the onions. In a cast iron or other heavy skillet, heat the pan on mid high heat. Add the oil and butter, and as soon as the butter melts, add the onions. Season with season salt or Sea Salt. Turn heat to medium and sauté until the onions caramelize, about 10 minutes. (Yes, I know this is not the traditional way to caramelize, but hey it works.) Remove from pan and keep warm. Add mushrooms to the skillet, turn the heat back up to med high, and sauté until they give up their liquid and start to turn golden, about 5-6 minutes.

Almost time to assemble the burgers. Microwave about ½ cup of pub cheese in the microwave just to warm it up, about 30-45 seconds. Take a warm burger and spread about 1 heaping tablespoon of cheese on the patty.

Top with 1 tablespoon of onions and another scoop of mushrooms. Stand back and admire the flatty patty. Try not to drool. It’s ok if you do, though. I won’t tell.

You won’t miss the bun. I promise.

My kids ate theirs plain. Each kid had two patties. Comments included “Thank you, mom, for another scrumptious meal.” I responded, “You’re welcome.” Then with narrowed eyes, I said, “Now who are you and what have you done with my children?” They laughed. Hubby man loved his three (1 was enough for me), and let me just say that he was skeptical when he saw the wee beasties on the grill. Comments such as, “They’re going to be dry and tough” and “Are you sure about this?” were voiced. I'm surprised he didn't ask, "Where's the beef?" Oh ye of little faith. These are so good because no single flavor overpowers the other. You can taste the beef for sure, and yet you won't need to have your arteries unplugged after eating this. Just look at this and tell me what you think … oh yeah, flatty patties are are good eats.


Linda said...

UM UM GOOD! I can have three of these right?? A friend use to make something like this but dipped them in buttermilk or egg and floured them (that dratted gluten again)and they were good too.

Grace said...

why do i find these much more appealing than thick burgers? why? perhaps because they'd be easier to get my wee, stretching-challenged jaws around. perhaps because they leave more room for abundant toppings. perhaps both. i love 'em. :)

Marjie said...

Cooks fast. Says it all for me. But just imagine how many I'd have to make for my ravenous horde: minimum 3 times 5 large males plus....oh, nevermind.

noble pig said...

I guess the coldness would help becuase when I flatten they often fall apart. They look great!

Lo said...

Mmm. I'm liking this idea.

You're right, we don't do many "flatty patties" around our house. But, I'm thinking we should!

Aggie said...

Wow. I love a burger with character and these definately have character! I loved reading this post and can't wait to try these out!

I am happy for you - I too have a member of the Picky Eaters club and consider dinner a success when he is happy with it!

Deborah said...

I've never even thought to have a flat patty like this, but it sounds tasty!!

Esi said...

Yummmmmm. These look so good. Do you think they would be as good with turkey burgers?

Jan said...

OMG! Those burgers look so yummy!Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog which has led me to yours!
A great blog you have btw.

Pam said...

Oh my gosh! It doesn't help that I am so hungry right now! But I can just imagine those crumbly edges!

Anonymous said...

These look really scrumptious! I love onions and mushrooms and the cheese is like icing on the cake! yum-yum Thanks for visiting my blog!

Paula said...

Hello all ... thanks for stopping by!

Linda: Come on over, rest your injury, and I'll grill up a bunch!

Grace: I love the thinner burger. I don't feel weighted down by a ton a bricks afterward. My kids like the thinner burgers; they are easier for them to eat and chew! My oldest girl especially liked them.

Marjie: I actually thought about you as I was making these! Because the patties are so flat, they take up a lot of room. You'd have to get an industrial size broiler!

Noble: I agree! I think it's because the fat needs to stay cold to hold it all together. By the way, great magazine article!

Lo: They are sooo good! Give 'em a try!

Aggie: I like that ... burgers with character! Let me know if you make them! Gotta love those picky eaters!

Deborah: They really are tasty and fun to eat, too! Even with all the toppings, they don't feel heavy in the tummy department.

Esi: Hmmm ... that's an interesting question. I've only used ground turkey for soups, chili, and casseroles. I don't know if it has enough fat in it to keep from falling apart. Interesting. Does anyone else have a thought on this?

Jan: Thanks! They are yummy indeed!

Pam: How was the first day back! Don't you just love the crubly edges! Now I'm hungry, too!

Perennial Gardener: What a great analogy1 The combo of flavors was really balanced and tasty!

Jan said...

They look delish, Paula.

I remember when I lived in England, having milk delivered to my doorstep everyday from a local dairy farm. Those were the days my friend.

BTW, I've given you an award, visit my blog to collect it.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Ooooh, You've been making some good food here! Nothing better than wings and burgers! I love the flatty patty idea too, I'm not into big hunks of beef either.


we're great fans of burgers, but these wafer-thin ones are unbeatable - topped with all that onion and cheese, i can imagine what a gourmet meal it must have been

a great way to enjoy a burger without bread

Cheryl said...

looks amazing! I now know what pub cheese is!

Dee said...

Hey, these look really good! My husband wouldn't go for them, but the kiddo and I would love this. Thanks!

Bridgett said...

My Dad used to make these (or something so similar) for dinner when my Mom had happened to be out for the evening. They are so yummy and comforting. Anything with beef and mushrooms and I am sold!

Annette said...

I agree...the only way to cook burgers - 15% fat, smashed and grilled (bun optional)! Will have to try with the Pub Cheese...just got some at Trader Joe's. Yum!

Paula said...

Jan: I loved the cream that used to come on top of the bottles! Thanks for the award! Will work on that!

Proud Italian Cook: Thanks! I prefer these to those two fisted monster sized burgers!

Mediterranean Kiwi: They really were good! My girls prefer their burgers without bread!

Cheryl: Back in Indiana, this was called crock cheese. I think I like the pub name better!

Dee: They were perfect for kids!

Bridgett: How cool that your dad made these, too! I love beeg and 'shrooms, too!

Annette: I got the pub cheese at Trader Joe's too! It was a fun change from regular cheddar cheese.

Nita said...

We eat our's a little thicker, but without the bread.

A friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer 5 years ago. Her doctor recommended no refined flour, etc. Just grassfed meats, raw cheeses, raw milk, and vegetables. For solidarity, I cut out the bread and grains, too.

She is cured now, or at least no sign of cancer, and we both no longer have joint aches and pains. If I slip and eat bread or grains, sure enough, the next morning I feel like I have been run over by my milk cow.

We assumed our aches and pains were from our hard physical work and age, but it is the food choices we make.

Great recipe and pictures as usual.

Jude said...

Don't miss the bun with that much goodness on it. Mushrooms and burgers go so well with each other.

Jeena said...

These are just fabulous, this is something I would eat and savour each taste, delicious.

Kevin said...

Those flat patties with cheese and mushrooms look good.

Bellini Valli said...

I'm glad you showed a photo of just how thin the flatty patties should be...they sound excellent!!

QGIRL said...

Those mushrooms are cooked to perfection. I love them like that!

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking those are not really heart healthy, but they sure do look delicious! I love thin burgers with crispy edges. My other new favorite is marinated and grilled portabello mushrooms. You'd be surprised at how good the crispy edges on those can be as well. :)