Julia Child’s Ground Beef Patties with Onions and Herbs

cooked ground beef patties


  • 3/4 cup yellow onion (finely chopped)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (spread on a plate)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup beef broth (or red wine)


  1. In a large pan over medium heat, add 2 tbsp butter and cook the onions slowly for about 10 minutes (until very tender but not browned). Place in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the beef, soft butter, seasonings, and egg to the onions in the mixing bowl and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon to blend thoroughly. Correct seasoning. Form into patties 3/4 inch thick. Cover with waxed paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Just before sauteing, roll the patties lightly in the flour. Shake off excess flour.
  4. Add 1 tbsp butter and oil to a pan over moderately high heat and when you see the butter foam begin to subside, saute the patties for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, depending on how you like your hamburgers (rare, medium or well done).
  5. Arrange the patties on the serving platter and keep warm for a moment while finishing the sauce. Pour the fat out of the skillet. Add the liquid (broth, wine or water) and boil it down rapidly, scraping up the coagulated pan juices, until it has reduced almost to a syrup. Off heat, swirl leftover butter into the sauce until it is absorbed. Pour the sauce over the hamburgers and serve.
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