Elizabeth is a southern chef who enjoys cooking popular German and Canadian/American dishes.
My name is Susie, and this article focuses on cooking easy-to-make and affordable meals for these hard times we find ourselves in. My specialties range from Southern cooking to German and Canadian dishes as well. You see, I married a Canadian I met online nine years ago, and we moved to Arizona. He’s since become a U.S. citizen, but every so often he misses the dishes he grew up with—so I learned how to cook some of his favorites to keep him in touch with his past.
My Introduction to the Hot Hamburg Sandwich
In fact, this particular Canadian dish is one of his favorites. He introduced it to me when we went out for dinner and a drink at this little hole-in-the-wall bar in his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, called TJ’s. It was one of those small street-corner bars with a long bar as you walk in the door and a bunch of booths in the back area, along with some pool tables. It was dark and smokey inside, but the food was out-of-this-world, home-cooked meals. I just had to try the hot Hamburg when my husband ordered it, and I have been hooked since.
This meal is not expensive to make, but the sandwich can be pricey depending on what grade hamburger you like to buy—from non-lean to very lean, or perhaps you like ground sirloin or something that can be a bit more expensive—but I’ll leave the choice of burger to you. I usually use a mid-lean meat; that way, I have drippings for the gravy.
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Ok. Let’s begin our dish.
(Makes 2 servings)
- 1/2 pound ground chuck, 80% lean
- 4 slices of white bread
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 package frozen French fries (You can make fries from fresh potatoes if desired; heart-healthy fries can be baked following the directions on the package.)
- 1 can sweet peas or 1 box frozen peas (your choice)
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 1/2 cup of cold water for gravy
- 2 cubes or 2 teaspoons of beef bouillon, dissolved in 1/3 cup hot water
- Divide ground beef into two 1/4-pound patties, square or round.
- In a non-stick skillet, use either vegetable oil spray or 1 tablespoon of oil to thinly coat bottom of skillet.
- Bring skillet up to medium-high heat, and add patties. Add salt and pepper to taste, but don’t overdo it.
- After a few minutes, flip the burgers and brown the other side. Add salt and pepper to taste on this side as well; don’t overdo it.
- Cook the patties until there is a nice crust on the outside of the meat but it's still soft and slightly pink in the middle. Test with a fork.
- If juices run out and are pink, then add the mixture of 1/3 cup water and beef bouillon into the skillet. Cover and steam the patties for 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium.
- Remove lid, and remove the patties to one slice of bread each. Plate each, and cover patties with other slice of bread.
- Use the spatula to scrape the drippings and bits of leftover hamburger in the pan. To make our gravy, dissolve two heaping tablespoons of corn starch in the 1/2 cup of cold water, and pour this into the skillet slowly, stirring constantly to eliminate lumps.
- The mixture will thicken. When you get the gravy to the consistency you like, turn the heat off. Taste the gravy to see if it needs additional salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, your fries were deep-frying or baking according to the instructions on the package. Remove them from the oven or oil. Season them with salt immediately after removing the fries from the oil or oven.
- Place peas in a microwave-safe dish, and cook for 3 minutes on high. Add a patty of butter, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Assemble your meal like this on two plates: There should be one bottom layer of bread with the burger and a top layer of bread to one side of the plate. Add the French fries to the remaining half of the plate. Add the peas to the top of the hot Hamburg sandwich, and then place a bit on the plate. Now, spoon gravy over the bread and the French fries, and serve.
My husband is a ketchup maniac, so you may want to have some available on the table as well. Salt and pepper can also be placed on the table. You will eat this dish with a steak knife and fork. Enjoy!
See you again for our next recipe. And until then, happy cooking, ya’ll.