Hamburger Steak with Mushroom Gravy


I remember one year when we went canoeing up north, we arrived in the town of Cochrane fairly late in a rain storm...I was tired and hungry and let me tell you that is a dangerous combo! James frantically scoured the area for a restaurant that was open to get me fed before all hell broke loose...luckily we found a nice little spot right at the Polar Bear Express train stop. We went in and sat down only to find out they were closing in 20 minutes...even though I was on the verge of violence with hunger pangs, I hated to be one of those "last minute eaters" when the staff had likely been there since dawn, serving the morning trucker crowd. We told our waitress to just bring us whatever they had that would be quick for them...10 minutes later, the angelic waitress was back donning three plates of supper...giant tears welled up in my eyes and bluebirds sang in my head when I saw what she brought...hamburger steak with mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes (REAL mashed, not that boxed stuff!) and peas!!!!!

Bubbling over with excitement and gratitude, I polished off the best meal I had eaten in days, weeks, even months...each bite bringing back memories of when my Mom would fix this same meal for us...such a simple thing to make out of ground beef but hearty and comforting all the same! Thank you lovely waitress and cook in Cochrane, Ontario!!

To make this, you will need: 2 lbs. of ground beef, garlic cloves, an egg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, an onion, fresh mushrooms, flour, butter, instant beef stock granules (I used "Knorr" brand) & water, olive or grape seed oil and some red wine...and missing from the photo, milk!

First, slice up about a 1/4 of a large Spanish or sweet onion and about 12-14 mushrooms and mince 2 garlic cloves (divided)...set aside.

Next, in a large bowl, add your ground beef, 1 tsp. of salt, a 1/2 tsp. of ground black pepper and 1 clove of minced garlic...

...add 1 egg and 1 tsp. of balsamic vinegar to the meat mixture...

...and finally, 2 tbsp.'s of milk and 3 tbsp.'s of bread crumbs.

Using your hands mix the meat until combined...

...then, shape into 6-8 patties (depending on the size you want)... I make an indent in the centre of each with my thumb...this helps the patties stay fairly flat instead of puffing up like mini footballs!

Brown meat patties on both sides in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium/low heat, then transfer meat to a plate and set aside.

To the warm skillet, pour in 1 tbsp. of grape seed or olive oil...

...add the sliced onions, mushrooms, the other clove of garlic (minced), then saute (covered)...

...until the vegetables are tender and fragrant (about 6 minutes)..transfer to a plate while you make the roux for gravy (use a wooden spoon to scrape the beef bits from the pan...in case you didn't know, these bits add flavour and colour to your gravy...if you did know, then you will have to excuse my know-it-all nature...sometimes I think I run things! )

...I don't have a photo for this step but add 2 1/2 tbsp.'s of "Knorr" instant beef stock granules to 3 cups of water and whisk until incorporated...set aside (you can use homemade or pre-made beef stock instead if you wish)

In your skillet (that is still set at medium/low heat) melt a 1/4 cup of butter...whisk in a 1/4 cup of flour...

...until a thick paste forms (this is called a roux).

Slowly pour in a 1/4 cup of red wine, stirring quickly to smooth any lumps...

...finally, slowly pour in the beef stock,

...and whisk until smooth. Bring gravy to a low boil and simmer for about 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until somewhat thickened (the gravy will be sort of thin-ish at this point...is that a word?!).

Next, toss the sauteed vegetables back into the pan...

...along with the meat patties and any juices left on the plate...you don't want to waste any precious flavour here people!

Allow the meat to simmer away in the hot gravy (flipping patties once to cover), until heated through.

Serve with mashed potatoes and peas for a true Northern Ontario, "save your husband from the wrath of one's hunger violence" meal! Enjoy!!

Hamburger Steak with Mushroom Gravy

Beef Patties

2 lbs. of ground beef (I used medium ground)

1 clove of minced garlic

1 tsp. of salt

1/2 tsp. of pepper

1 tsp. of balsamic vinegar

1 egg

2 tbsp.'s of milk

3 tbsp.'s of bread crumbs

1. Combine above ingredients in a large bowl, form into 6-8 patties (depending on the size you want).

2. Fry patties in a heavy bottomed skillet set on medium/low heat...when meat is browned on both sides, transfer to a plate and set aside.

Gravy

12-14 mushrooms sliced

1 garlic clove minced

sliced onion (about a 1/4 of a large Spanish or sweet onion)

1 tbsp. of olive or grape seed oil

1/4 cup of butter, cut into cubes

1/4 cup of all purpose flour

1/4 cup of red wine

3 cups of water

2 1/2 tbsp.'s of instant beef stock granules (I used the "Knorr" brand found in the soup aisle)

1. Whisk the instant beef stock granules into the water and set aside.

2. Next, saute the mushrooms, onions and garlic in 1 tbsp. of oil in the skillet that you cooked the beef patties in...cover the pan until vegetables are tender.

3. Transfer vegetables to a separate plate and set aside.

4. Using a wooden spoon, scrape all of the beef bits from the bottom of the pan and add the cubes of butter...once the butter has melted, sprinkle in the flour and stir until a thick paste forms.

5. Slowly pour in the wine, whisking until smooth, then add the beef stock mixture, whisking until incorporated and smooth...let gravy simmer, stirring constantly until it has thickened somewhat (about 10-12 minutes).

6. Toss in the vegetables that have been set aside as well as the beef patties (including any juice that is left on the plate). Flip the patties once to cover in gravy and let them simmer just to heat through...serve with mashed potatoes and peas!

* the gravy in this recipe isn't super thick...if you like the gravy a little thicker, add another tbsp. of flour when making the roux.

* you can use 3 cups of homemade or pre-made beef broth in this recipe instead of using the water and instant beef stock granules.