Dinner Beef Patties

With Bermuda onions.

In his short story (or essay, depending on which parts you believe) “Some Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion,” Mark Twain reflected (with pointed exaggeration) on the significance of the exceptionally sweet, flattened varieties of onion cultivated in Bermuda in the late 1800s:

There was an ample pier of heavy masonry; upon this, under shelter, were some thousands of barrels containing that product which has carried the fame of Bermuda to many lands, the potato. With here and there an onion. That last sentence is facetious; for they grow at least two onions in Bermuda to one potato. The onion is the pride and joy of Bermuda. It is her jewel, her gem of gems. In her conversation, her pulpit, her literature, it is her most frequent and eloquent figure. In Bermudian metaphor it stands for perfection–perfection absolute.

The Bermudian weeping over the departed exhausts praise when he says, “He was an onion!” The Bermudian extolling the living hero bankrupts applauce when he says, “He is an onion!” The Bermudan setting his son upon the stage of live to date and do for himself climaxes all counsel, supplication, admonition, comprehends all ambition, when he says, “Be an onion!”

Twain spent some 170-plus days of his life in Bermuda on various trips, so I’m sure the ribbing was good-natured. Two quick culinary notes: one, while the original cultivars were white, there are now red and yellow varieties that are properly styled Bermuda onions. Second, you can actually grow green onions from them, if you keep them properly.

From the box of L.R. from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Dinner Beef Patties

1 large Bermuda onion
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup water
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 pounds ground beef
2 teaspoons salt
Chili Glaze

Cut onion into 4 thick slices. Saute in butter until lightly browned on bottom; turn carefully; add water and brown sugar; cover. Simmer 10 minutes, or just until tender; sprinkle with paprika. Keep hot while fixing meat.

Mix ground beef lightly with salt; shape into 4 large and 4 medium-size patties about 1″ thick. Pan fry over medium heat 8 minutes; turn; cook 5 minutes longer. Spoon Chili Glaze over; continue cooking, basting with glaze in pan, 3 minutes longer for medium or until meat is done. Put one large and 1 small patty together with the onion slice between and top with remaining sauce from pan.

Chili Glaze
1/2 cup chili sauce with 1/2 cup water, 1 Tablespoon corn syrup, and 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce in a 2-cup measure. Makes about 1 cup.

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