Cooking “Under Fire”, or in difficult conditions brings a special set of challenges. You don´t have your usual array of pots and pan available to you. You also don´t have your usual stock cupboard with its range of flavours and spices at your fingertips. But you do have a good appetite at the end of a busy day, and you have tasty ingredients available to you which are not so easy to get hold of back home in Spain. So…you adapt. You work around the “problems” and enjoy the opportunity of a challenge.
I bought a large, deep frying pan with me which can be used for deep or shallow frying, braising and boiling and searing meat at a high heat. Here in the UK there are beautiful little waxy potatoes and superb beef from my new best friend the local butcher. I have learnt to cook more than I need when I get the chance, then to use leftovers the next day in another dish to save time.
Having made a delicious Ensalada Cateta (Orange and Potato Salad) for a taste of home, I made sure to cook double the amount of potatoes. Of course, I didn´t weigh them so I can´t give you exact amounts, but you´ll know how many you can eat!
For the burgers
- 300g ground beef approx
- One large red onion finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon of brown sugar or honey
- 2 cloves of crushed garlic
- A little olive oil for frying
- One tablespoon of very finely chopped fresh coriander
- Salt and Pepper
For the “Fries”
- Potatoes cooked in their skins (new, or small if possible) and peeled (or not) and quartered lengthways
- About a dozen mushrooms (I used brown) thickly sliced
- Half a white onion thinly sliced
- 2 cloves of sliced garlic
- Salt & Pepper
- Oil for shallow frying
- One tablespoon of very finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
To make the burgers, fry the red onion very slowly until tender then add the sugar and garlic and continue cooking very slowly until the onions start to caramelise. Season lightly with salt and pepper and allow to cool. Add the onion mixture to the minced/ground beef, then the coriander, and salt and pepper to taste. Form into two large of four small burgers/patties and chill until required (but do bring them up to room temperature before cooking).
Add a little oil to a large non stick pan and add the potato pieces. At a high temperature cook the potatoes until browned (you could also use raw potatoes, but it will take a little longer). Turn the heat down and add the onions, garlic and mushrooms and cook gently until the onions start to soften and release their liquid. Now add the burgers, continuing to cook slowly to ensure they are cooked through. Turn over to cook on both sides. Just before you are ready to serve, turn the heat up and brown the burgers on both sides and to cook off any liquid in the pan. Add the chopped parsley and serve.
Not quite burger and fries as most of us know, but very delicious and a great one pot dish.
PS. Think of me tomorrow and keep everything crossed – fingers, toes and eyes. We´re hopefully having our internet connection installed and I´ll be able to start reading and commenting again – yay!