Hamburger steak Japanese style ハンバーグ

japanese cake

Hamburgers are the archetypical American food and they are popular in Japan too. I am not sure when was the last time we had hamburgers, probably 30 or so years ago. Hamburgers in Japan can be authentic American or a Japanese modification (again, I admit we have not tried hamburgers in Japan). For one thing, hamburg or ハンバーグor 煮込みハンバーグ is served without buns and with demi-glace sauce.  In the US, the equivalent would be “Salisbury steak“.

I ended up making this dish one day. The reason I made this was because I found, to my surprise I have purchased two tail portions of filet mignon when I thought I had purchased a beef roast. One weekend I was looking for meat to barbecue. For some reason, the grocery store was out of the type of pork roast I wanted and I did not feel like doing a chicken again. Although we usually do not do roast beef, it appeared that beef was inevitable that weekend. Then, I found a small roast, just about the right size. It was labeled “tenderloin roast” which was about twice the diameter size of a filet mignon. I have never seen this type of roast before and decided to try it (mistake!).

I usually re-truss these meats once I get them home since I do not trust “plastic truss”. When I removed the truss on this “supposed” tenderloin roast, it turned out to be the tail portions of two filet mignon put together to look like one piece of meat. Since these pieces are very thin, they are generally not used for fillet mignon steaks; they are generally a less than optimal part of the cut. (a bit of a cheating punt dear local grocery store!!) (We won’t be buying that again).

I certainly did not want to cook this as a trussed “roast” medium rare since the inner portion of the meat was facing outside increasing the possibility of contamination. So, I decided to make just regular filet mignon steaks the best I could out of the thicker portion of the tails. But the tail portions were too small to be cooked as steak so I decided to hand chop the pieces into ground beef and make “hamburg” in a Japanese style (sort of).

 This is what I came up with. I served it as a small ending dish one evening with the gnocchi my wife made earlier and sautéed asparagus.

Pre-made demi-glace in a jar is not as easily available in US as compared to Japan for some reason, so I made my quick sauce instead.

Ingredients (for two):

Two tails of filet mignon, hand chopped

One medium onion, finely diced

two-three shiitake mushroom, bottom of the stems cut off, torn longitudinally in think strips and cut across in small pieces and the caps cut into small pieces.

Freshly ground nutmeg, salt and pepper

Olive oil for sateing

For sauce:

1 cup Ruby port wine, reduced in half

Ketchup 2 tbs

Tonkatsu sauce 2 tbs

Mustard 1tsp


Sautee the onion and mushroom in olive oil until cooked, season with salt and pepper and let it cool to room temperature. Mix the above with the beef and make oval disks. Cook in the frying pan with olive oil turn once for the donees you like.

For sauce:

Mix reduced port wine, ketchup, tonkatus sauce and mustard and cook until the sauce heated up and attained saucy consistency.

For a impromptu hamburger steak, this was quite edible. The sauce was not demi-glace but good enough and the hamburger came out very delicate and nice. Of course, the shiitake mushroom really added “umami” flavor. The gnocchi my wife made was a perfect accompaniment as well.

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