Hungarian Lángos Goulash Burger

by Florian
Hungarian Food - Lángos Goulash Burger

When I published my recipes for lángos and goulash sauce, I promised that these were the building blocks for more complex dishes. The wait is now over, as today I present my own version of Korzo Haus‘ famous Korzo Burger.

The Village Voice elected Korzo Haus “Best Burger Joint of 2011.” Now, thanks to Food Perestroika, you can reproduce and improve upon this Eastern European take on the most emblematic of American dishes. Yes, now you can make your own artery-clogging beef patty wrapped in fried dough, away from the over-gentrified East Village and in the comfort of your home. All you need is a little bit of time on your hands…

Certainly, I took a number of personal steps to make this burger as good as possible:

  • I wanted to make this burger as Hungarian as could be. Lángos was not enough, so I added goulash sauce with sautéed onions and red peppers. Sauerkraut would be another option — making my own is a project I need to tackle soon. To top the patty, Hungarian cheese may be hard to find, but a semi-firm cow’s milk cheese is a faithful approximation.
  • This meat patty recipe is inspired by Heston’s Bluementhal’s Further Adventures in Search of Perfection and Nathan Myhrvold’s Modernist Cuisine at Home, although the final meat mixture composition is mine. I’ve been experimenting with various beef cuts for years. Hanger steak brings bold beef flavor, short ribs add fat (and therefore both moisture and flavor), and the “edge of eye” (a term apparently invented by FreshDirect for the meat situated between the chuck and the ribs) provides a classic patty base. It makes sense to grind the less tender hanger and ribs twice, while the chuck/rib hybrid needs only one pass through the large die.
  • As for the cooking, I find that Myhrvold’s sous-vide method truly results in the best texture: an airier version of commercial patties sans pink slime, with the perfect doneness. Korzo Haus uses nothing more than a good old grill, but I think the sous-vide improvement is worth it, especially since the meat blend is less cohesive than your typical 100% chuck.

Hungarian Food - Lángos Goulash Burger

Sautéed vegetables
Yields 6 servings

4.5 oz red pepper, thinly sliced
4.5 oz onion, thinly sliced
1 oz olive oil

  • In a pan over medium heat, sauté the red pepper and onion in the olive oil. Season with salt, and cook until golden brown.
  • Remove from the heat, and reserve.

Sous-vide beef patties
Yields 6 servings

15 oz short rib meat, cubed
7.5 oz hanger steak, cubed
15 oz edge of rib eye, cubed
about 0.4 oz salt (see below)
2 tbsp canola oil

  • Weigh all the meats to determine their total combined weight, then measure 1% of that weight in salt.
  • Grind the short rib meat and hanger steak meat using the fine die of a meat grinder.
  • Mix the ground meat with the rib eye and the salt, and grind all together using the coarse die. Place a piece of plastic wrap under the grinder, and as the meat comes out, try to align the strands so that they run lengthwise in the same direction. To better understand what I mean, watch Heston around the 10 minute mark (the whole video is worth watching, too):

  • Wrap the ground meat in the plastic wrap, shape into a 3-3.5″ diameter log, and add another tight layer of wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • Slice the ground meat log into six 6 oz patties, and remove the plastic wrap.
  • Place each patty in a sous-vide pouch with 1 tsp of oil, vacuum-seal, and cook in a 131 F water bath for 1 hour (you can also put 2 patties and 2 tsp of oil in one pouch). If you want a more well-done burger, increase the temperature of the water bath by 5 or 10 degrees.
  • Proceed with assembly steps immediately.

Hungarian Food - Lángos Goulash Burger

Yields 6 servings

sous-vide beef patties
canola oil (for sautéing and deep-frying)
4.5 oz semi-firm cow’s milk cheese, sliced
lángos dough
(recipe for 6 servings)
6 to 8 oz goulash sauce
sautéed vegetables

  • In a pan over high heat, sauté the beef patties in canola oil just long enough to brown them on both sides. Remove from the pan, top with cheese slices (about 0.75 oz per patty), and let cool for 5 minutes. At this point, the meat should be cooked exactly as you like it, as it won’t really cook more when you deep-fry it inside the dough.
  • Heat canola oil in a deep-fryer to 375 F. If you don’t have a deep-fryer, a pot and a thermometer work just as well.
  • Divide the the lángos dough into 6 pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece into an 8″ diameter disc, keeping the centers slightly thicker if possible.
  • Spread a little bit of goulash sauce in the center — I recommend using between 1 and 1.3 oz, as a larger amount is likely to cause leaks. Place a patty on top, then some (about 1 oz) sautéed vegetables. You can tune these proportions to your liking.
  • Close the dough like a purse, and using scissors, cut off the excess dough from the top. Proceed quickly; don’t try to reshape the dough too much, or cut the top multiple times, because each manipulation tends to stretch the dough at the bottom. At most, if you see the dough is too thin in one spot, pinch it to avoid holes.

Hungarian Food - Lángos Goulash Burger

  • Drop the burgers in the deep-fryer quickly (to avoid stretching the dough) but carefully (to avoid spending the night in the ER). Proceed in batches — you may not have space to cook more than one burger at a time. Fry until golden-brown on all sides. How long does this take? I don’t know! You should keep busy basting and flipping the burger, watching for that perfect golden-brown color, instead of checking the clock! Remove from the deep-fryer, and drain on paper towels. Let rest for a minute.
  • If a small hole forms in the dough, some sauce will escape, and the oil will bubble a lot and get dirty. The part of your burger with the hole will be more cooked, but it should still be edible.
  • Cut each burger in half, and serve.

Hungarian Food - Lángos Goulash Burger

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You know your stuff, it’s a joy to read!


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