Hamburgers are, of course, delicious on their own, but served with a smooth cream sauce, as in this Russian recipe for Bitokes (bee-tohk), they become a little more special.

2 oz. butter, softened medium-sized onion, chopped

1 ½ lb. minced beef

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon thyme eggs

8 oz. dry breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 fl. oz. beef stock

4 fl. oz. single cream teaspoon grated nutmeg

2 teaspoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon butter


2 tablespoons butter in a small frying-pan over moderate heat. Add the onion to the butter and fry for about

5 minutes, or until it is soft and translucent. Remove the onion from the pan with a slotted spoon and place in a large mixing bowl.

Add the beef, 2 tablespoons of the butter, the salt, pepper, thyme and 1 egg to the onion in the mixing bowl. Using your hands, mix the ingredients together until they are completely blended. Taste and correct the seasoning if necessary.

Form the meat into patties about f-inch thick. Beat the remaining egg and dip each patty into it. Coat the patties with the breadcrumbs.

Put the remaining butter and the oil in a large frying-pan and heat over mod-erately high heat. When the butter foam subsides, fry the patties for 2 to minutes or longer on each side, depending on whether you like your hamburgers rare, medium or well-done. Remove the hamburgers from the pan and transfer them to a warmed serving dish. Keep hot while you make the sauce.

Pour the fat from the frying-pan. Add the stock to the pan and boil it rapidly over high heat, until it has been reduced by half.

Add the cream to the stock. Boil rapidly for 1 to 2 minutes, or until it has thickened slightly. Season with the nutmeg, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the tablespoon butter. When the butter is completely absorbed, spoon the sauce over the hamburgers and serve.

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