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Burger a la Stroganoff

June 05, 2002|CHARLES PERRY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Bitoque is a French adaptation of bitok, a sort of Russian hamburger given a lighter texture with bread crumbs and served with sour cream sauce. Accompany it with matchstick potatoes and a salad of dandelion greens, and serve fruit for dessert.

Chewy, high-gluten crumbs, such as those from English muffins, will create a good texture. (The French and the Russians like to soak the crumbs in milk, but I prefer onion juice.) This is a good use for a stale English muffin, but you can make crumbs from a fresh one and dry them out.

Don't use really fatty hamburger for this. On the other hand, extremely lean hamburger will have a disappointing flavor; 20%-fat ground beef is best. Light sour cream is as good or even better than rich sour cream for the sauce.

Plates, place mats and napkins from Sur La Table.

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Bitoque

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 25 minutes

1 English muffin

1 large onion

1 pound ground beef

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Freshly ground nutmeg

Oil for frying

1/4 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon of flour

1/4 to 1/3 cup sour cream

Grind the English muffin to crumbs in a food processor. If fresh, dry the crumbs in a microwave oven or by tossing in a skillet.

Meanwhile, puree the onion in the blender. Strain the onion juice through a strainer and discard the solids. Mix the onion juice with the crumbs and squeeze out any excess juice.

Place the crumbs, beef, salt, pepper and a few grindings of nutmeg in a food processor and process until it forms a ball on top of the blade, or knead thoroughly by hand. Form the meat into 4 patties and dust on both sides with flour.

Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until a corner of one of the patties sizzles immediately if dipped into the oil. Fry the patties until browned on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes, and remove to a warm platter.

Pour off the oil. Add the chicken broth and scrape up the browned bits from the skillet. Bring to a simmer. Stir the flour into the sour cream until smooth. Add the sour cream to the skillet and return to a simmer, stirring, 1 minute. Serve the patties with the sour cream sauce.

2 to 4 servings. Each of 4 servings: 406 calories; 446 mg sodium; 82 mg cholesterol; 29 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 12 grams carbohydrates; 23 grams protein; 1.26 grams fiber.

MENU

Salad

Bitoque

Matchstick potatoes

Fresh fruit

SHOPPING LIST

Fresh fruit

Ground beef

Matchstick potatoes

Salad greens

Sour cream

STAPLES

Chicken broth

English muffin

Flour

Oil

Onion

Nutmeg

GAME PLAN

25 minutes before: Grind muffin crumbs. Puree onion.

20 minutes before: Combine beef with crumbs, shape into patties.

15 minutes before: Heat oil, fry patties.

5 minutes before: Make sour cream sauce. Prepare salad.

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