Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hamburgers & Sweet Potato "Fries" in the Oven

Here's a meal that takes very little prep time and only thirty minutes in the oven. Burgers and fries are not exactly "good for you" but letting the burgers grill up out of the grease and making sweet potato fries in the oven is a healthier version.

I used Za'atar to flavor the fries. Za'atar is a variable mixture of herbs, often with thyme as a base, used in Middle-Eastern cooking. I've spoken before about buying spices while on vacation. I got this bag of Za'atar at a Lebanese grocery store while visiting friends in Los Angeles.

  • Sweet potato
  • Ground beef shaped into hamburgers about 1 inch thick
  • Za'atar or other herb mix for the potatoes
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
Determine amounts by how many servings you want. For two servings I used one large sweet potato and two four-ounce burgers.

  1. Place an iron grill pan in the oven if you have one (If you don't have an iron grill pan, forego preheating the pan and use a broiling pan with a rack.)
  2. Turn on the oven and preheat to 400°
  3. Peeled the sweet potato and cut into french-fry shaped pieces about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick
  4. Toss the sweet potato in olive oil to coat.
  5. Toss the coated potatoes with Za'atar and salt to taste
  6. Place the potatoes in a single layer on a baking pan
  7. When the oven is up to heat, cook the potatoes for 10 minutes
  8. By this time your grill pan should be very hot. Use a barbecue brush to "paint" the grill pan (or rack) with olive oil to prevent sticking.
  9. Place the hamburger on the oiled grill pan or rack and cook in the oven for 10 minutes.
  10. Flip the burgers and the potatoes.
  11. Cook another 10 minutes (30 minutes total for the potatoes, 20 minutes for the burgers)
It this point, the burgers will be medium well-done and the potatoes will be soft and slightly carmelized. We put some honey dill mustard on the burgers. Yum.

Hamburgers on Foodista

Sweet Potato Fries on Foodista

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Imprecise & Inexpensive

Two themes predominate in my approach to cooking. 1. Daily cooking of flavorful food need not be a precise art. 2. You can be an adventurous cook on a budget. Cooking and eating should be fun for both cookers and eaters.