(The original Hamburger?)
In my recent search for the ‘perfect’ meatball, of course the search throws up many variations, not to mention my personal quest for the meat cutlets I loved as a child, bought by my father from a Polish delicatessen that has long since vanished. This variant (that I have added my own twist) does come a step closer to that particular goal. The classic frikadellen recipe uses a mixture of two types of minced meat, though here, of course only beef is available. To achieve the textural quality I was looking for, a little smooth, firmness I added corned beef to the 500 g. beef.
Whether you wish to be classic or go with my dream cutlet is up to you, gentle reader. The following steps are common to either version. In a mixing bowl, add salt, a good quantity of pepper and marjoram. Instead of adding two finely chopped brown onions directly, I sautéed the onion first and just when they have a little colour adding the result to the mix. Then we pop in two eggs and as a binder, bread that has been pre-soaked in milk. Note that before adding the bread to the mix, squeeze out the milk thoroughly or else the mixture will be too runny. Finally, some chopped parsley and mustard. I have not seen German mustard in the market, so used the smooth Dijon mustard instead.
Now comes the slightly messy bit of mixing by hand, though on the plus side it ensures a more even distribution of all the elements. Once the mixture is ready, the individual patties are formed in the palm of ones hand rolled firmly, but gently and slapped together from hand to hand so they are flattened a little and the patty sticks together as one. They are then ready to be fried in Sunflower oil for about 5 minutes on each side. Instead of placing them straight in the pan, in memory of my childhood cutlets, I coat them in egg and breadcrumbs, before frying. This gives a slightly crispy edge to them. Then serve immediately.
The serving suggestion pictured is with tomato and cucumber with extra mustard on the side. A second serving suggestion is with a creamy mushroom sauce I ate on day two. For the sauce, fry finely chopped mushrooms with onion, garlic, a splash of Worcestershire sauce and oregano. Once the mushrooms reduce down, add Ayran or buttermilk for a creamy silkiness and simmer. One alternative to both the above is serving with sauerkraut and that is subject I wish to return too in the not too distant future. I know pickled cabbage can be bought commercially, but have eaten the homemade variety, there is really a considerable difference.
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