The French Burger
This is by no means a typical French burger.
In French, burger meat is called “steak haché.” When you buy minced meat at your local butcher you’ll be suitably impressed when a large quality steak is indeed taken and minced! As the quality of the meat is so good, the meat is treated with respect. This translates into cooking the meat carefully and rather quickly. The French order their burgers “saignant” or rare. Not even “à point” which is medium rare. This is because the French enjoy their burgers with a completely different texture. They think if the meat is cooked through, then it becomes dry. Meanwhile, it is precisely that specific texture of a hard burger between a squishy bun that we Anglo-Saxons are taught to enjoy. I do like the French burger- but it is altogether a different animal.
My local supermarket butcher always has farce. At first, I thought it was merely minced meat- but no!! It was explained to me that this is what one normally uses to stuff and bake tomatoes with; the traditional provencal “tomate farci.”
“Farce,” or stuffing, is made with equal amounts of veal, pork and beef mixed together with lots of garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. I always make my own burgers and always add pork for added juicy deliciousness. I also season the meat copiously with garlic. Therefore, I thought I’d give this tempting mix a try. Turns out it’s perfect! I don’t add anything at all to the meat which lessons considerably the prep time without sacrificing on flavour. Easy Provençal burgers indeed.
Provencal Burger Recipe- La Recette
½ kilo farce meat (makes 4 burgers- if you like them big like me!)
Otherwise equal portions of lean beef mixed with the meat taken from Toulouse sausages (take them out of their casings). This can also work with a mild or even spicy Italian sausage in your nearest grocery store.
3 thinly sliced shallots for garnish
Baguette of your choice (I like campagne or tradition)
Condiments of your choice
My burgers here are slathered in hot mustard, black olive tapenade and my favourite: my homemade apple chutney. You may find this odd- but since I’ve started dating a Brit the world of chutney possibilities has been opened to me and I must say I’m now hooked!
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C
Shape the farce into whatever burger dimension you like. I tend to always make mine quite thick. If you like yours less thick then they can just be pan-fried until done.
Pan-fry the burgers in a medium pan for 3 minutes on each side. Then place on a tray in the oven for 10 minutes or until done. These burgers have to be cooked through because of the pork in the mixture. Also, if you’re using farce- don’t be surprised if the cooked meat retains a deep pink colour. I’ve found quality pork sausage meat does that!
While the burgers are in the oven, pan fry the sliced shallots on a medium-low heat in the juices that remain from the seared burgers. Cook until translucent but still retaining a crunch.
Assemble your burgers and devour! YUM!
*If you’d like a little more veggie with your meal, I find slow roasted peppers go very well with these.
*Farce also makes absolutely delicious meatballs.
See also: Provencal Fish Soup Recipe