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HAMBURGER STEAKS WITH BROWN GRAVY

Hamburger steaks with rich, savory brown gravy are total comfort food bliss. When a homemade meaty patty is smothered in that beefy, oniony gravy, every bite is sheer happiness. If you’ve never tried making them at home, you’re missing out!
I’m excited to share this easy recipe for tender, juicy hamburger steaks and rich brown gravy. It delivers a truly satisfying meal with little effort. Before we dive in, let’s go over some common questions about crafting this classic dish:

What kind of beef should I use?
Ground chuck is the best option for hamburger steaks because it has the right ratio of fat to lean meat for flavor and moisture. Choosing chuck with an 80/20 lean-to-fat ratio gives you enough fat for juicy, tender patties that hold together well. Going too lean can result in dry, crumbly patties. The fat also gives great beefy flavor when browned.

What binders and seasonings do you add?
Adding an egg helps bind the ground meat together so the patties don’t fall apart while cooking. The egg proteins coagulate when cooked, acting like an adhesive. Fresh minced garlic and chopped parsley give aromatic flavor. Dried spices like paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper round out the savory flavors and add a bit of flair.

How do you keep the patties from puffing up?
Pressing down in the center of each patty before cooking creates a divot that prevents them from puffing up too much as they cook. As the meat cooks, the patties tend to expand outwards and upwards. The divot provides a little more space for the meat to expand into, rather than puffing up. This helps the patties retain their shape and thickness.

Should you pre-cook the patties before making gravy?
It’s best not to pre-cook the patties. You want to brown them just until nicely seared on both sides, then remove them from the pan. This lets you make use of the tasty browned bits left behind in the pan to build flavor for the gravy. Pre-cooking would make the patties overdone.

Ready to get cooking? Let’s go over the simple recipe…

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound 80/20 ground chuck
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 1⁄2 tsp paprika
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1⁄2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • Butter for browning patties (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Place the 1 pound of 80/20 ground chuck into a medium sized mixing bowl. Crack the 1 large egg into the bowl and add the minced garlic clove (about 1 teaspoon), 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper.Use your hands to gently mix the ground beef and seasonings together until everything is thoroughly combined. Be careful not to overwork the meat too much – just mix until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Overmixing can make the patties dense and tough.
  2. Divide the beef mixture evenly into 4 portions. Gently shape each portion into a patty about 1/2-inch thick. Use your thumb to press an indentation into the center of each patty, making the patties slightly concave. This indentation will prevent the patties from puffing up too much and will help them retain their shape as they cook.
  3. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter is hot and shimmering, carefully place the patties in the pan spaced apart. Let the patties cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes until the bottoms are nicely browned.
  4. Flip the patties over using a spatula and cook the second side for another 2-3 minutes until well-browned. Remove the cooked hamburger patties from the pan and place them on a clean plate. Tent loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  5. Add the sliced onions to the hot skillet. Sauté the onions for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are softened and translucent. Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour evenly over the onions and stir to coat the onions with the flour. Let cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  6. Whisk in the 1 cup of beef broth, making sure to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Bring the liquid up to a gentle simmer and let cook for 2-3 minutes, whisking frequently, until the gravy has thickened.
  7. Stir in the 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and season the gravy to taste with salt and pepper. Return the hamburger patties to the skillet along with any accumulated juices on the plate. Spoon some of the gravy over the top of each patty.
  8. Reduce heat to low, cover the skillet, and let simmer for 5 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld together.
  9. Serve the hamburger steaks hot, topped with the savory onion gravy. Goes great with mashed potatoes!

Cooking Tips:

  • Let patties come to room temp before cooking for even browning.
  • Use cast iron or nonstick skillet to prevent sticking.
  • Cook over medium-high heat to develop nice sear while keeping patties juicy.
  • Stir gravy frequently to avoid scorching.
  • For richer gravy, whisk in 1 Tbsp cold butter at end.
  • Leftover cooked patties reheat well in microwave.
  • Freeze uncooked patties in single layer, then store in freezer bag.

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