Korean Burgers

korean_burgersMakes 4 Servings
Hands-On Time: 15 Minutes
Total Preparation Time: 25 Minutes

Suggested Accompaniment
steamed baby potatoes with parsley

Quick Kimchi (recipe below) or store bought kimchi
4 medium scallions
One 3/4 inch piece fresh ginger
3 T soy sauce (low sodium if you prefer)
1 1/2 T unseasoned rice vinegar
1 T firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 t toasted sesame oil
1 garlic clove
1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck, round, sirloin, or bison
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T vegetable oil
4 hamburger buns

1. Prepare the kimchi

2. Trim and thinly slice the scallions (about 1/2 cup); peel and Microplane-grate the ginger (about 3/4 teaspoon). Combine the ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and sesame oil in a small bowl; press the garlic (about 1 teaspoon) into the bowl.

3. Gently stir the scallions and the soy sauce mixture into the ground chuck in a bowl with a fork and shape the meat into 4 burgers, being careful not to overwork the meat. Season the burgers on both sides with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat until hot; reduce the heat to medium and add the burgers. Cook for 5 minutes per side for medium-rare.

5. Meanwhile, split and toast the buns. To serve, place the burger on the bottom half of each bun, top with some kimchi, and close.

Quick Kimchi
Makes About 2 Cups
Hands-On Time: 20 Minutes
Total Preparation Time: 2 Hours 30 Minutes

1 small head napa cabbage (about 1 pound)
1/3 c kosher salt
1/3 c unseasoned rice vinegar
1 T sugar
1 t sweet or hot paprika
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/2 medium red bell pepper
3 medium scallions
One 3-inch piece of fresh ginger
1 garlic clove

1. Trim off the core end of the cabbage. Split each leaf lengthwise and cut it crosswise into 1 1/2 inch ribbons (about 4 cups). Combine the cabbage and salt in a nonreactive bowl and set aside at room temperature for 2 hours.

2. Bring the vinegar, sugar, paprika, and cayenne to a boil over high heat in a small saucepan.

3. Meanwhile, finely chop the bell pepper (about 1/2 cup) and transfer it to a medium bowl. Trim and thinly slice the scallions (a heaping 1/3 cup) and peel and Microplane-grate the ginger (about 1 tablespoon); transfer each to the bowl with the bell pepper as it is prepared. Press the garlic (about 1 teaspoon) into the bowl.

4. Drain, rinse, and thoroughly dry the cabbage; add it to the bell pepper mixture along with the vinegar mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Pack the kimchi into a nonreactive bowl or jar, cover, refrigerate until you are ready to use it. Kimchi will keep in the refrigerator for about 1 week.

Cook’s Notes
Is there a difference between hamburger and ground beef? There is. Government regulations specify that a package of beef that is ground and labeled “hamburger” in a USDA-inspected plant may have additional beef fat (not a part of the meat that was ground) added to it, and one labeled “ground beef” may not. Both hamburger and ground beef may have no more that 30 percent fat by weight. The cut of meat does not have to be specified and it can have seasonings but not water, phosphates, extenders
or binders added. Actually, I don’t recommend buying either “hamburger” or “ground beef.” I prefer to buy beef that has been ground from a single cut and labeled “ground chuck,” “ground round,” or “ground sirloin,” or better yet, buy your favorite cut of meat and grind it yourself. The Kitchen Aid stand mixer comes with a grinding attachment or you can buy a grinder which you attach to your kitchen counter or you can simply pulse the meat in a food processor until it is ground.

Quicker Kimchi
If you want to make an even quicker version of this pickle start with sauerkraut: Drain, rinse, and thoroughly dry 1 cup sauerkraut. Prepare the recipe as above, substituting the sauerkraut for the salted cabbage with no standing time, and serve right away.

Kimchee is the perfect condiment to top off any item – serve it with grilled fish, chicken, beef or pork or slip it into any sandwich, sort of like an exotic cole slaw.


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