I love a good hamburger, and over the years I have developed one with chopped shallots, a bit of cream, Worcester sauce and paprika. I especially love the burger with lightly crisped sautéed onions and—I hate to admit it—dripping with ketchup. We all have our thing. Recently when my husband was going to market for me to pick up the angus beef I prefer for the burgers, I decided to prepare instead sloppy Joes with sautéed onion and sweet red bell pepper. I had about a 1/2 cup of homemade, basic tomato sauce in the fridge, which I included along with seasonings such as oregano and smoky Spanish paprika, giving the sloppy Joe’s a zesty finish. Spilled over a toasted brioche bun, it is delicious and my new winter comfort food.
In keeping with the chopped beef category and my love of mushrooms, I included a meatball with mushrooms and linguine recipe below for another hearty favorite. This meatball and pasta recipe does not include any grated cheese but you can add it as an option. I kind of like the straight-up classic meatball preparation over pasta combined with the earthy mushrooms sautéed with onion and mellowed by the chicken broth.
Angus beef is the beef of choice for this recipe. The beef is natural and hormone and antibiotic free. The fat content is only 14% and as we all know fat adds flavor. I put some of the fat back by adding just 1 tablespoon of cream for 4 hamburgers.
Angus beef is available at King Kullen. The beef is from Creekstone Farms.
1 1/3 – 1/2 pound quality chopped chuck or Angus beef
1 medium shallot, finely chopped, about 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon cream, optional
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Sautéed onions for burgers, optional
1. Place beef in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add remaining ingredients except optional sautéed onions. With a large wooden spoon or with your impeccably clean hands, blend the beef with the ingredients but be careful not to overwork. Mold the patties to about 1/2-inch thick.
2. Preheat a black cast-iron skillet for 3 to 4 minutes. Put in the hamburgers, 2 at a time and cook over medium heat about 3 1/2 to 4 minutes each side for rare to medium rare. Turn with metal spatula and serve on toasted buns with sautéed onions, if desired.
SLOPPY JOES ON TOASTED BRIOCHE BUNS
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 pound ground chuck
1/2 cup basic tomato sauce, preferably homemade
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon coarse Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sweet Spanish paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 4 toasted brioche rolls, split
1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped meat, stirring and breaking up into the vegetables until the meat has lost its red color.
2. In a bowl combine the tomato sauce with remaining ingredients except the rolls and stir into the meat to thoroughly incorporate. Cook over medium-low heat with cover ajar, stirring occasionally. Spoon one-fourth of the beef mixture over bottom half of toasted brioche, cover with top half and serve.
Note: If serving for two, refrigerate or freeze remaining beef mixture when cool and reserve.
MEATBALLS WITH MUSHROOMS AND LINGUINI
Serve 4 to 5
For the meatballs and mushrooms
1 pound ground chuck
1 egg, beaten
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons plain dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 pound shiitake or button mushrooms, stemmed and wiped clean
1/2 cup chicken broth
For the pasta
1 pound linguini or spaghetti
Kosher salt for the cooking water
Parsley leaves for garnish
Mix the first six ingredients in a bowl. With wet hands shape into evenly-sized meatballs. Warm the canola oil in a large skillet and sauté the meatballs over medium heat, a few at time, (do not crowd pan) about 2 minutes each side. Transfer to a dish. Warm the olive oil in the same skillet the meatballs cooked in and sauté chopped onions for 3 to 4 minutes until translucent, scraping up bits in the bottom of the pan. Put in the mushrooms and sauté over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the meatballs to the mushrooms with the chicken broth and keep warm over low heat.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to the boil, add salt and put in the pasta. Cover and return water to the boil. Uncover and cook the pasta at a brisk rolling boil for 10 to 12 minutes or al dente, firm to the bite. Scoop out 1/4 cup pasta cooking water before draining the pasta and add to the meatballs and mushrooms. Drain pasta and transfer to the skillet with the meatballs, mushrooms and toss carefully to mix. Ladle into warm pasta bowls, evenly distributing the meatballs and mushrooms, garnish with parsley leaves and serve at once.