Cooking with Yami: Loco Moco-don

Cooking is pretty simple if you have good instructions. Tonight I’m cooking, something I haven’t done a lot of since I got this new job; I’m also bored as hell waiting for people to get home, so I thought I’d throw up a recipe post .

Loco Moco-don

It’s really basically Loco Moco, a hawaiian dish, but I added a -don because it reminds me of gyuu-don, a Japanese dish that basically means “a bowl of rice with beef on top”.

Difficulty: Easy. Well, okay, Chaos claims the gravy is pretty hard, but honestly, it’s just trial and error, and even the mistakes are delicious. So maybe a medium? I dunno, how hard is frying burgers and melting butter?

Price: cheap. The most expensive thing is the ground beef, unless you don’t have worcestshire sauce, but that’s not all THAT expensive (I think they have little bottles at dollar stores?) If you live in a food desert, just leave it out, it should still taste okay. 

Equipment: Easy. A fry pan, a sauce pan, something to boil water in, maybe a second fry pan if you’re feeling adventurous.

Time: Short. Maybe fifteen, twenty minutes? Feels like forever when you’re hungry. 

Dietary Needs: Not low sodium. Can be dairy free. Not vegetarian. Probably can be easily adapted to gluten-free, it’s just using flour as a thickener, maybe rice flour or cornstarch?

Ingredients:

– Less than half a stick of butter
– Ground beef. A pound, or half that if cooking for one small-eater like me
–  Beef bouillon cubes
– drinkable water (what? Some people don’t have access to that)
– flour (any kind)
– Quick-cooking rice. I usually use either microwave rice or those boil-in-the-bag ones. I guess you could make your own rice from scratch but this is one of those cheap quick weeknight recipes so I don’t usually bother. I don’t like this recipe over Japanese rice (which I usually have on hand), long-grain seems tastier, but do whatever you like.
– eggs (optional)

The first thing you’ll want to do is boil some water (unless you have an electric kettle, then you can boil water later when you go “oh crap I forgot to boil water”). If your rice is the kind that’s just microwave, go ahead and boil about two and a half cups; if it takes boiling water, do a pot and a half-ish. That way you can use the extra to cook the rice.

Did you run the dishwasher? Crap. Well you’ve got something to eat of around here anyway…

While that boils, shape the ground beef into patties. I guess you’re supposed to get about four patties per lb? Just go for whatever fits in your pan, the thinner the better (because it’ll cook faster and you’ll want to eat it eventually, right?)  Put your frying pan on the stove on medium to preheat.  When you can hold your hand above it and feel warmth, it’s hot.

Is your rice the kind that takes 10+ minutes? Pour the extra boiling water into a pot, add rice, cover (or not depending on the instructions on the box), set a timer.

Cook the burgers. For those of you in the advanced class, they’re burgers, just cook them. For the rest of you: don’t put it on high, you’ll burn the edges. These are probably fairly thick unless you have a giant pan, so put it on medium-ish and let it take as much time as it needs. Cut one in half if you need to in order to check the middle, nobody cares. This isn’t a steak. We just don’t want food poisoning.

While that cooks, use the two cups of boiling water to make broth from the bouillon cube. Set that aside. Now you’re going to want to melt some butter. Put the smallest saucepan you have on low heat — LOW HEAT — and add the butter. How much butter? Um. The recipe calls for 1tbsp. I usually just cut a thick pat and eyeball it and if I need more roux I make more later and I can always use less than all of it.

When the butter’s melted, add a pinch of flour. Whisk it into the butter (you can use a fork), making sure it dissolves all the way. See how the butter is slightly thicker? Keep adding pinches until it’s more like thick applesauce than liquid butter. Take it off the heat.

Are the burgers done yet? No? Pour yourself a drink, go check your email, make a phone call. You want them to be nice and cooked.

You want the rice to be done before the burgers, so when they’re almost done, pop the rice into the microwave (if microwave rice). Dish that into serving bowls (protip: a bowl with a lid or a tupperware works nicely here, because you can just serve up an extra portion and set it aside for tomorrow’s lunch) and top with the cooked beef.

Panic because you made CHICKEN bouillon. I said beef. Start over. 😉

Now, see how there’s all those nice drippings in the pan where the burgers cooked? If there’s a lot of fat and crap, pour that off, you mostly want the stuff that’s crusted onto the pan. Turn the heat on medium-high or high under the pan and add some beef broth. NOT ALL OF IT! Just maybe about half? Okay, however much you added, that’s how much I meant. Pat yourself on the back for being such a good pupil.You want that to come to a boil. Add a bit of worcestshire sauce for that added umami kick.

Put some heat under the roux (that’s the butter and flour mix you set aside earlier). Add a little of the broth. See how it gets more liquid again? You want it to be more or less like milk. Good job. Now take a little of the roux (pronounced as in “kanga-“) and add it to the simmering (see the little bubbles? Maybe wait a little longer? There! Bubbles!) broth in the fry pan. Scrape the bottom of the pan if you can, it mixes in all the good stuff. Now you can tinker with adding more broth or more roux until you get a) enough gravy and b) thick enough gravy (hint: the more it boils, it’ll thicken more, as well, if you run out of roux).

Got a tiny little frying pan? Fry yourself an egg, sunny-side-up (or fried if you prefer your yolks cooked like me). That goes on top of the beef. Tired of cooking by now? Skip the egg.

Pour gravy over each dish just before serving (meaning if you made extra to eat later, pour it into a separate container and reheat it at lunch).

Tadah! Dinner.

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