I know, I know… apple galette’s, coq au vin, a decadent chocolate cake, casseroled artichokes and then I write a post about White Castle hamburgers. What is going on here? They’re called cravings people. We get cravings living overseas for food from home. Sometimes, lying in bed, we take turns naming things we miss most. If I could have any candy bar right now, I’d have a … Butterfinger! or Reese pieces. Or fast foods, like El Famous Burritos or spicy beef and green beans from Yen’s, and so on and so on. A couple months ago while watching tv Jason mentioned that he could go for a sack of White Castle sliders and I responded with “ooh yeah and onion chips!” Anyone who’s ever had them remembers the onion smell. Often times when we get cravings, I try to figure out how I can re-create them. After a bit of research I decided to accept the challenge.
I went to the store and picked up some ground beef, hot dog buns, crinkle-cut french fries, and schmelzkäse, which is pretty close to American cheese slices. When we first moved here we had to figure out for ourselves what foods are called, and how different the German versions of some foods are. As an example, hotdogs aren’t in the refrigerated case by the other sausage varieties, they are sold in jars in the pickled food aisle! When we see something that is new and exotic to us, or just plain mysterious, we take it home and have a mystery meal to sort it all out. The schmelzkäse tastes just like American cheese only thicker sliced and has a bit softer consistency. To simulate white castle buns, we looked for hamburger buns but those are only available during the summer grilling season, but luckily sausages are consumed year-round so we picked up a pack of American-style hotdog buns (larger than the traditional buns in the States) and cut them in thirds. This worked out perfectly! When I got home I started cooking with fingers crossed hoping this meal would turn out. I could only imagine the look on Jason’s face as he walks through the door to the smell of fresh sliders!
I mixed the ingredients together in a bowl and laid a piece of plastic wrap on the counter, put the ground beef mixture in the center, then another piece of plastic wrap on top. I used my rolling pin to gently flatten the ground beef mixture into a large, thin, flat, square patty. I lifted off the top layer of plastic wrap and put it on the side while I sliced the large patty into 3″ squares with a pizza cutter. After looking at them for a minute, I thought something was missing so I used a straw to cut 5 holes into each patty so they look just like real sliders. I laid the plastic wrap back on top of the patties and put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes to an hour until they were partly frozen.
As they were chilling I put a small pat of butter into a skillet and covered the bottom with diced onions, sauteing them until just translucent. While waiting for the onions, I sliced the buns and trimmed the cheese slices to fit the size of the patties. Then I took the partly frozen patties from the freezer and carefully placed them atop the bed of onions, covered the pan, and cooked them for 3 minutes. Then I flipped them, placed the sliced buns cut-side down on top of the patties and onions, and covered the pan to cook for another 3 minutes. Then I removed the buns, placed a patty on top, added the cheese, a slice of pickle, and finally the other half of the bun. Now the hard part is keeping your hands off the finished ones until they were all done.
Homemade White Castle Sliders
makes 12 hamburgers
1 lb lean beef
1/2 t. salt
2 large onions, diced
2 T. onion powder
1 1/2 c. water divided
beef bouillon cube
Mix ground beef, a little of the diced onions, onion powder, salt and 1/2 c water. Place plastic wrap on the counter and the hamburger mixture on top. Flatten til 1/4 inch thick. Cut in 3 ” patties and poke 5 holes with a plastic straw. Place patties in freezer til partially frozen about 30 minutes to an hour.
Place a layer of diced onion, beef broth cube, and a 1/2 c. water in frying pan. Saute over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Add water til bottom of pan is covered, then saute patties. Cover with lid. Cook on one side for 3 minutes. Flip the burgers and saute on the other side for 3 minutes. Add the bottom of the roll on top of the cooked side of the burgers until soft. Remove the burgers, add a slice of American cheese and a pickle. Repeat the steps for the remainder of the sliders. Crinkle fries and onion rings go great with these sliders! Serve immediately.