Hamburg Steak

hamburg steak mushroom gravy

Here are some familiar snippets of stories/hearsay: Europeans claim to have invented a food; said food is embraced by different nations at different times, depending on each country’s state of war, immigration policy, rationing, and agricultural output; Europeans and many North Americans abandon and scoff at said food with the onset of industrial agriculture and cheaper meat prices; Japan and some pockets of America still love said food.  I believe these tales lie in the tragic history of the Hamburg steak.

I still love you, Hamburg steak.  I like how you are naked instead of sandwiched between buns.  I like how you are comfortable with being coated with brown gravy, curry sauce, tomato sauce, and/or cheese.  I like the way all of you looks, feels, and tastes, even if a little suspiciously. I embrace how you are made from inexpensive ingredients and I will not hold that against you.  In fact I think you might embrace it, too.  If only more people were like you.

I am following a similar format to Cooking with Dog in that I am also including the starch and vegetable sides in this recipe.  Unlike the inspiration video, I feel the end result here will be more in the style of the American greasy spoon diner, with mashed potatoes and a thick gravy.


Hamburg Steak

Adapted from Cooking with Dog

Serves: 2
Time: 1 1/2 hour

For the mashed potatoes:

  • 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and in chunks
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp evaporated milk / regular milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt (if using unsalted butter)

For the vegetables:

  • 200 g of green beans, broccoli, carrots, etc.,
    cut into large bite-sized pieces

 For the hamburg steak:

  • 1 tsp + 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 250 g ground beef
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
    (panko, plain, or Italian all work)
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk / regular milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • freshly grated black pepper, to taste
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 50 ml water

For the onion & mushroom gravy:

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1/4 onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 button or crimini mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 150 ml water
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp mirin

For the mashed potatoes:

  1. Place potato pieces in a pot and add enough water to just cover the potatoes.
  1. Bring the water in the pot to a boil over high heat.  Then turn the heat down to medium-low and cook until the potatoes are fork tender.
  1. Drain the water out then let the potato steam, uncovered, for a few minutes to remove more moisture.
  1. Add butter, evaporated milk, and salt.
  1. Mash the potato with a wire masher or electric hand-mixer until there are no visible chunks.


Guess which mashing implement I used.

  1. Set potatoes aside until serving.

For the vegetables:

  1. Cook the vegetables in one of your choice of ways.  I boiled the broccoli and green beans I used today.  One could also boil them, mash them, stick them in a stew, steam them, or sautée them.


More would have been good, actually.  I wanted to eat these all myself in one go.

  1. Set vegetables aside until serving.

For the hamburg steak:

  1. In a pan over medium-low heat, sauté the 1/2 diced onion in 1 tsp oil for 2-3 minutes or until the onion is translucent and slightly golden.
  1. Add the 1 clove minced garlic and fry for another minute, then turn off the heat.  Remove the onion and garlic and let them cool in a mixing bowl.  If you are re-using the same pan in later steps, there shouldn’t be too much excess oil so there is no need to clean the pan.


Fry gently on low heat to prevent charring.

  1. To the bowl, add the beef, breadcrumbs, evaporated milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Using your (clean) hands, mix them all together well.
  1. Crack the egg into the mixture and continue to hand-mix until all is evenly distributed.


Whenever I see such a greyish-pink meat mixture, I think of what Winston Smith had to eat everyday.

  1. Divide the meat mix into two equal portions then form a round patty out of each one.  Make them each about 3 cm thick, then press your fingers into each to create broad indentations in the centers.  This will prevent ‘puffing’ up in the center during cooking which would turn the patty into more of a meatball shape than a patty shape.
  1. In a pan over medium heat, spread 1 tsp oil even across the pan’s surface.  Then place both meat patties in the pan.
  1. Cook the patties until browned on one side, then flip to repeat.


Such funny patterns.  Like two little meaty moons.

  1. Continue cooking by steaming: add 50 ml water to the pan then cover with a lid.


This pan has no lid so I improvised.  Hey you guys should get Hovernote.

  1. Your steak is done when its juices run clear when poked with a fork/chopstick – well done at 71 °C / 160 °F.  Because there is also egg in this mixture, I don’t recommend going the medium-rare route.
  1. Remove the steaks from the pan and set them aside.

For the onion & mushroom gravy:

  1. In the pan used for the steaks, over medium heat, stir-fry the 1/4 sliced onion, 1 clove minced garlic, and mushrooms in 1 tsp oil + 1 tsp butter.  Cook until the onion is golden brown.


Don’t clean the pan or your shrooms will miss out absorbing on some meaty goodness.

  1. Add the flour and stir the mixture constantly until the flour is slightly toasted, about 2 minutes.
  1. While still stirring constantly, add the 150 ml water, soy sauce, and mirin.  Continue to stir and cook until the liquid thickens into gravy.

To serve:

  1. For each person, place the mashed potatoes, vegetables, and steak on a plate.  Ladle the gravy onto the tops of the steak and mashed potatoes.

2 thoughts on “Hamburg Steak

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