Salt Crusted Burgers with Mashed Peas

Hamburger steak is a total comfort food for me. I grew up on the stuff. We are were a very meat and potatoes family, so it wouldn’t be uncommon to have a hamburger steak or a meatloaf, fried potatoes, gravy, and a vegetable of some kind [canned green beans anyone?]. I still kind of get a little weak in the knees for some of that stuff. It doesn’t count as comfort food unless you drown your whole plate in gravy by the way. It’s kind of like my whipped cream to pumpkin pie ratio, but that’s a whole other story…

Phone conversations with my family generally revolve around “what are you having for dinner?” What can I say, we like to eat [or I always call on the way home from work]? They’re meal planners for the most part, or at least have some idea based on what they have in the fridge/pantry. I’m the complete opposite, running across the street most days because I don’t have anything except maybe some eggs. Or chocolate chips.

So when my mom said they were having hamburger steak the other day, it dawned on me that I hadn’t had one since…yeah, I don’t want to think about it. I don’t exactly eat a lot of beef these days, and there really isn’t a reason for it. So I took myself to the backup fridge [not only do I have the New Seasons across the street, I have a Fred Meyer four-ish blocks the other direction] to pick up a few things.

Jules at Stonesoup was the inspiration for the rest of the dish. I was the only one eating, so I didn’t need to make a whole mess of potatoes [not that it has stopped me before]. I have a love affair with frozen peas, gladly popping them into my mouth straight from the freezer. How could mashed ones fail me? They didn’t. Caramelized onions with a splash of balsamic for good measure. Why don’t I use more balsamic? I think this every time I open the bottle.

Inspiration: Stonesoup


  • 1lb ground beef
  • 8oz frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 sweet onion, small chop
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • salt
  • pepper
  • red chile flakes, optional


If you want the caramelize the onions, it’s going to take a bit. You heat the 2-3 tablespoons olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions, and cover, stirring every 5 minutes or so. It’ll take a good 25-30 minutes to get them to start browning and caramelizing. A watched pot never boils and all that. Right before you pull them off, toss in a tablespoon or two of balsamic and stir. Delicious.

Remove the onions from the pan and add a fine layer of salt all over it. Turn the heat up to high. Form the beef into patties while it heats. Sprinkle both sides with fresh cracked pepper. Add the patties to the salted pan, and let them sizzle for 4-5 minutes before flipping. The salt is going to create a juicy, seared exterior full of all kinds of flavor. After flip, let them cook another 4-5 minutes depending on how rare you like your beef.

After the final flip, add the frozen peas to a pot on medium heat. Stir occasionally while they heat. Once all of the frozenness goes away, add the butter. Stir again while the butter melts, coating every pea. With a fork, potato masher, immersion blender, or small food processor, mash the buttery peas with a splash of lemon juice to taste. It really brightens up the flavor.

Serve the burgers on the peas topped with onions.