I have a tendency to get excited about cooking a recipe, buying all of the ingredients and then having 1/2 full containers of rarely used ingredients filling my pantry. This, in turn, led to many conversations between my husband and me about an overfilled pantry and the wasting of food. After many discussions, we decided that as a family we would only cook recipes from a specific country for a month at a time. Our sons were 10 and 12, so we decided to blog about our year to try to keep them engaged in our adventure. Some months were easy, Mexico and Italy, while others were much more difficult, Ethiopia and Iran. We chose France for July to celebrate our love of the Tour de France. On one our more adventurous nights, we made "Torte of Potatoes and Pigs' Feet" from Saveur Magazine November 1998. This was quite an ordeal that ended with dinner not making it to the table until 11:00pm. We dug in with excitement, and with a little fear. There was a lot of cartilage, fat, and skin in that puff pastry that left a residue of sticky goo on our lips. Needless to say, our boys were not impressed. To make it up to them, the next night we made Bitokes a la Russe from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. This was easily a family favorite. Over the years, we have melded the recipe with Julia Child's recipe for Bifteck Hache a la Lyonnaise. Our sons are away at college now. I always ask them what they want me to cook when they come home for a visit. "French Hamburgers" are always their first choice.
Saute the minced onion in 2 tablespoons butter for about 10 minutes, until softened. Let cool.
When cool, mix onions with ground beef, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp ground pepper, 1/4 tsp dried thyme and one beaten egg. Don't overmix. Form 4 patties. Dredge each beef patty in flour and set aside.
Heat pan with 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil over med-high heat. Cook patties until med rare, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Place on a rack in a warm (200 degree) oven while you make the sauce.
Add sliced mushrooms to the pan. Cook 4-5 minutes. Add beef broth and boil until syrupy. Add the cream and boil until sauce thickens slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste, a pinch of nutmeg and a couple of drops of lemon juice. Remove from heat. Swirl in butter (1/2 tablespoon at a time). Stir in minced parsley. Serve sauce over patties.