In true food blogger fashion, I’m thinking of recipes to share with you, while eating a plate of warm leftover risotto that I need to recreate in order to share with you (because it was so incredible), as I write a blog post…specifically about one of the best meals I’ve made lately.
Last week, I saw Chef Keith Rhodes of Catch Restaurant in Wilmington post a “take-out” special of Loco Moco. (All you folks who are reading this in 2027, remember the CoVID Pandemic that had us all sheltering at home and everything fun closed in March, April and May of 2020? If not, google it.) The dish looked fantastic and the Anson Mills Carolina Gold rice is what called me because I had just received my order. And as blessings would be, my produce box from Kindly Kitchen had shiitakes and spring onions and a host of other goodies in it a few days later and I got inspired to make it. I also had some local BFR beef (via High Country Food Hub) in the freezer. After perusing some Pinterest recipes and seeing how easy Loco Moco is, I decided I could just do a mash up of several recipes I saw posted and really they weren’t too different than the gravy I make for my country style steak. Loco Moco is basically a meat patty on rice and gravy, only Loco Moco has a slightly Asian flare, thanks to some soy, chili garlic paste, Worcestershire and perhaps fish sauce and sometimes the beef mixture. It really varies. The gravy sometimes includes mushrooms and is poured (in this case) around the ground beef patty and is always topped with a fried egg. Loco Moco is my idea of the perfect breakfast. Like if I was in Hawaii, I would order this before an omelet or pancakes or anything considered breakfasty. It’s savory, spicy and full of umami flavor and is perfect for dinner too, which is when we enjoyed it. We served ours with a side of sauteed spring onions and Solomon’s Seal, which is a wild leafy veg that came in my produce box. Loco Moco doesn’t really need a side, but it’s Spring and my produce drawers overfloweth.
This recipe is completely adaptable to leave out the mushrooms, make it more spicy, and it’s gluten-free (unless you hate to cook with corn starch and in that case, make gravy the old fashioned way with a roux…I’m not going to teach that to you here, but the corn starch version is way less fussy than a roux). I hear Spam is also traditional and I bet this is just as good with ground pork. I hope you make it and love it as much as we do.
LOCO MOCO (Serves 4)
1 1/2 pound ground beef
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 lb shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbs. soy sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp ketchup
1 tsp chili garlic sauce (you can add more if you like it spicy)
1/4 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. fish sauce (optional)
1 tsp. oyster sauce (also optional but it gives even more flavor)
1 inch knob of fresh ginger grated or 1 tsp. ground ginger
1 TBS. brown sugar
1 TBS. corn starch
1 1/2 cup beef or chicken stock
Scallions and/or chives for garnish
2 TBS. Ghee or butter
Eggs (one for each patty)
Prepare the beef with the garlic and cayenne and make into to 4 round patties (about 3/4 inch thick and about the size you’d place on a burger bun–you decide how big). Sprinkle the outside with salt and pepper.
Make the sauce:
Mix the soy, worcestershire, ketchup, chili sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, ginger, fish sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce (if using), corn starch and broth together. Taste and adjust for seasonings. If you like it spicy, have at it. Add a little bit of soy if you need. Set aside.
Get a skillet screaming hot with a bit of ghee or butter. Place the burgers in the skillet and sear on one side until a nice crust forms, about 4-5 minutes. Flip and sear 4-5 minutes more or until desired doneness. Set aside.
In the same pan, lower the heat to medium and add a bit more butter or ghee to the pan, then add the sliced mushrooms. Do not touch them for 3-5 minutes. Let them get a little brown before you start tossing them about. Add a sprinkle of salt and a generous amount of pepper then add the garlic and saute for one minute. Add the broth mixture, deglazing the pan and scraping any browned bits. Allow the sauce to thicken. You may need to add a bit more broth if it gets too thick. You may adjust seasonings here again. Keep the gravy warm in the pan it should coat the spoon and be very glossy.
In a separate skillet, melt some butter and crack the eggs, cooking until the whites are set but the yolks are slightly runny. You can cook them all the way until the yolk is cooked through but c’mon, I promise you it’s so good this way. Sprinkle the eggs with a bit of flaky salt (and cayenne if you want).
Add rice to individual bowls or plates, then top with the patty, spooning gravy on top and around. Add the fried egg on top and garnish with the chives or scallions.
If you make this dish, please let me know and tag me @triadfoodies on Instagram and Facebook as well.