From Too Many Chefs -

June 21, 2005
Margaret's Coriander Hamburgers

barbecue.jpgAt our recent barbecue pot-luck, our good friend Margaret brought along two varieties of meat balls for grilling. Everyone loved these little hamburgers and as proof of how good they were I have to say I only got to taste the crumbs of one variety: the rest disappeared down our guests gullets within minutes of coming off the grill. The next day my dear Critic was still raving about them and so I wrote to Margaret to ask for the recipes. Unfortunately, she hasn't had the time to answer me and so last night I tried to improvise the coriander and onion one.

I'm pretty sure I did not get her recipe exactly right, but what I came up with was inspired by Margaret's recipe. The Critic judged that although my recipe was slightly less flavourful it worked better as a hamburger as a result. (Margaret's were served on their own and so the extra flavour could be better appreciated!)

One of these days I'll have to chase her up for the second variety (can't remember for the life of me what it contained but it was apparently delicious) but for now here is my take on the coriander one.

Margaret's Coriander Hamburgers

1 kg ground beef
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander
2 shallots
2 plump cloves of garlic
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt, pepper to taste
1 Tbs hot pepper flakes

Carefully crumble the beef in a large bowl with your hands and gently toss it with the rest of the ingredients. It's best to wash your hands thoroughly before (and after) and work it with your fingers rather than use a spoon. Turn on the grill and when it is nice and hot gently squeeze a large handful of the meat into a patty slightly larger than the size of your bun. It's important not to work the meat too much if you want to keep it tender and juicy. When the patty is cooked on one side, flip it over and put the bun on the grill to toast. Serve the hamburger patty on the toasted bun with fresh tomato, a slice of onion and a little sharp mustard.

Posted by Meg in Sussex at June 21, 2005 3:22 AM | TrackBack

These grilled meatballs will be next on my "hit" parade of meals to perform for the masses :)

Posted by Lu on June 21, 2005 at 5:09 PM

UPDATE: I heard from Margaret this morning and it turns out that my hamburgers differ substantially from her meatballs! Here is the original recipe:

As for the burgers, I've made them a few times, never measure very much, but here's the basics. I use a mixture of minced beef (15% fat if you're buying it in France, where it's all nicely marked), and minced pork (Farce à légumes works just fine, and is easier to find in the supermarket). Roughly a kilo of beef to 300g-500g of pork.

Start by making a large mug of couscous/semoule, just by pouring boiling water onto half a mug of dry grain, and covering it with a saucer. While it's swelling up, you can finely chop all the other ingredients:
an inch or two of galangal (use more ginger if you can't find it)
an inch or two of ginger
a whole bunch of coriander
a stick or two of lemongrass (I buy frozen mini packets in the Asian grocery store, already minced, about a euro and it keeps forever)
a couple of dried chilies
five or six big kaffir lime leaves (roll them up and shred them - again, frozen ones are fine, even straight from the freezer)
a few cloves of crushed garlic

Spread out the couscous on a plate so that it cools a bit, and meanwhile mix the herbs and spices into the meat - I use my hands, but I guess you could use a spoon if you're squeamish! Then mix in the cooled couscous and a large egg, or two if the mixture seems too dry. If it's dry, it will fall apart and stick to the BBQ. Make the mixture into golf ball size balls, and leave in the fridge for at least a few hours before you cook them, squashing them into burger patties as you put them onto the grill.

You can also use completely different herbs, eg lots of garlic and mint and parsely, or I've tried basil before, but the list above guarantees that there will be none left and everyone is happy.


Posted by Meg in Paris on June 22, 2005 at 4:46 AM

Oh yeah! I was hoping that your post would inspire Margaret to send the recipe. (I should really watch myself - I recall promissing a recipe or two of mine, way long ago....intention to follow through still good)

Posted by Alisa on June 22, 2005 at 4:14 PM

Thank you so mutch both of you for the recipe, they were amazing. David was asking me last time if I could get the recipe.

Posted by Pascale on June 23, 2005 at 11:46 AM