“Hawaii is not a state of mind, but a state of grace.“― Paul Theroux
This summer, Alana Kysar published “Aloha Kitchen.” If you didn’t hear, it was a hit! This awesome cookbook sheds light on the under-appreciated and totally unique cuisine of the Hawaiian islands. Susie, my mother-in-law and kitchen book guru, gifted me the cookbook this summer, and I immediately read it cover-to-cover. If you know of an aspiring cook, “Aloha Kitchen” makes a beautiful present. What I love about this cookbook is the fascinating history lesson of the melange of cultures which assembled together created a distinctive and delicious cuisine. With my siblings living on a farm in Haiku, Maui, I was excited to get in touch with the traditional Hawaiian fare and bring the tropical vibe to my home here in Idaho. Now in the heart of winter and warm sunny barefoot days are a daydream, I love to flip through “Aloha Kitchen” and pick a recipe to thaw out the wintery chill. Enter: the Loco Moco.
The Loco Moco is a breakfast, lunch, or dinner kind of dish. In Hawaii you can order it any time of day and it’s an epic late-night meal. For my take on the Loco Moco, I used elk burger in place of beef. You could also substitute local lamb burger or a grass-fed local beef as well.
Loco Moco Ingredients
- 1 lb ground beef, at least 15 – 20% fat; OR elk burger
- 1 medium yellow onion, 1/4 of the onion chopped; 3/4 sliced
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated
- 3 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more as needed
- ½ tsp black pepper, plus more as needed
- 2 ½ Tbsp neutral oil, such as grape seed
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 2 C beef broth
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 4 C steamed white rice
- 4 large eggs, fried, sunny side up or over easy
- 2 chopped scallions, for garnish
- In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, chopped onion, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Mix with your hands or a wooden spoon until just combined, being careful not to overmix. Form into four patties about 1/2-inch thick. Place the patties on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large 12-inch skillet over medium. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the sliced onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until almost translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking, stirring often, until soft and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Add 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet and heat over medium. When the oil is hot, swirl the pan around to evenly coat it, then gently place the patties in the pan, spacing them out evenly. Cook until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Using a spatula, transfer patties to a clean plate to rest.
- Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil to the pan and heat over medium until hot. Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper, then add the caramelized onions, beef broth, soy sauce and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Place the cornstarch in a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the broth from the skillet and whisk until smooth. Stir the cornstarch slurry into the skillet and simmer until the sauce has thickened to gravy consistency, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Assembly: Place 1 cup steamed rice on each plate and top each serving with one patty, then the gravy, a fried egg and chopped scallions.