The Washington Post

Pork Burgers With Caraway

Pork Burgers With Caraway 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Jan 1, 2014

We're beginning another year of Dinner in Minutes with what will be an occasional series that pays homage to chefs and cooks who made their mark on American cooking. This one's from a 1994 memoir with recipes by the late Pierre Franey, who was born in Burgundy, France, 93 years ago this month.

The chef earned the nickname "Pierre le Gourmand" by the time he was 5 years old, in part because he spent his early childhood hunting snails and acquiring a fine palate for local cheeses. He cooked in the French pavilion at the 1939 World's Fair in New York, where Craig Claiborne found him and wrote about him. From there, Franey became executive chef at Le Pavillon in Manhattan.

Franey and Claiborne had a long friendship and collaboration, which included several cookbooks and the chef's column in the Times called "60-Minute Gourmet," which ran from 1976 until 1993.

This recipe takes half the time of his 60-minute creations, yet it tastes like a whole hour -- and more. The very pale tomatoes are already upon us, so we added tomato paste to compensate. A nonreactive pan is called for here, such as enameled cast-iron, stainless-steel or nonstick -- because of the acidic ingredients.

Serve with quickly boiled, then smashed small potatoes and a salad.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 or 3 fresh sage leaves (may substitute 2 teaspoons dried sage)
  • 4 plum or Roma tomatoes, as ripe as possible
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


Combine the pork, caraway seed, cumin, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Blend with your fingers, being careful not to over-mix. Shape into 8 equal portions, then shape each one into a 1/2-inch-thick patty.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large, nonreactive skillet over medium heat (see headnote). Once the oil shimmers, add 5 of the patties and cook for 5 minutes on the first side, then turn them over and cook for 3 to 5 minutes on the second side. Transfer to a serving platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm; as they are done, add the remaining patties and cook in the same way (no need to add oil to the skillet).

While the burgers are cooking, finely chop the onion and mince the garlic and fresh sage. Cut the tomatoes into 1/4-inch pieces, reserving any juices.

Drain the fat from the skillet. Add the olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, stirring to coat. Cook for about 8 minutes, until they have softened, being careful not to brown the garlic. Stir in the tomato paste; cook for 1 minute.

Add the vinegar and the tomatoes and their juices. Increase the heat to medium-high; cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes or until just bubbling. Taste, and add salt and/or pepper as needed.

Place two burgers on each plate. Pour sauce over each portion. Serve hot.

Recipe Source

Adapted from "A Chef’s Tale: A Memoir of Food, France and America," by Pierre Franey with Richard Flaste and Bryan Miller (Alfred A. Knopf, 1994).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 400

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 28g 43%

Saturated Fat: 9g 45%

Cholesterol: 110mg 37%

Sodium: 270mg 11%

Total Carbohydrates: 6g 2%

Dietary Fiber: 2g 8%

Sugar: 3g

Protein: 32g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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