Bad things happen: – Every day. – To everyone. The difference is in how people deal with it.
The great debate on the Big Island of Hawai‘i is who invented the loco moco. Some will tell you that Lincoln Grill was the first to make it; others will swear it was Café 100. Legend has it that a bunch of teenagers nicknamed it “loco moco” after a guy they called “Crazy George.” So what is it? Loco moco is similar to a Japanese dish called hambāgu, or hamburger steak, which consists of a panfried ground-meat patty served with a tangy-sweet sauce and white rice. The loco moco takes this one step further, throwing the patty over rice, then smothering it in a brown gravy and topping it with a sunny-side up egg.
This is a breakfast, lunch, or dinner kind of dish. In Hawai‘i, you can order it at any time of day, and it’s an epic hangover or late-night meal (not that I’d know). So if you’ve got the midnight munchies, or simply want a hearty breakfast, lunch, or dinner, get to work! George’s loco moco awaits you.
- 1 pound 80/20 or 85/15 ground beef
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- 3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 medium Maui or yellow onion; ¼ chopped, and
- ¾ sliced into ½-inch wedges
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated
- 2½ tablespoons neutral oil
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce (shoyu)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 4 cups steamed white rice
- 4 large eggs, fried sunny-side up or over easy
- 2 chopped green onions, green parts only, for garnish
In a bowl combine the ground beef, salt, pepper, 1½ teaspoons of the Worcestershire sauce, chopped onion, and garlic. Gently mix with your hands or a wooden spoon until just combined, being careful not to overmix. Form into four equal-size patties about ½ inch thick. Place the patties on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and transfer to the refrigerator to rest for 20 minutes.
While the patties are resting, add 1 tablespoon of the oil to a large skillet set over medium heat. When the oil is hot (shiny and shimmering), add the onion wedges and sauté until almost translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the heat to low and continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring often. Cook until they are soft and caramelized; you should be able to smell the sugar. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Add another 1 tablespoon of the oil to the skillet and set it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, swirl the pan around to evenly coat it, then gently place the patties in the pan, leaving room around each one. Cook until browned, about 4 minutes on each side. Using a spatula, remove the patties and transfer to a clean plate to rest.
Add the remaining ½ tablespoon oil to the pan and heat over medium heat until hot. Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper, then add the reserved caramelized onions. Add the beef broth, soy sauce, and the remaining 1½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to medium-low, scoop out a tablespoon of the broth from the skillet, and whisk it with the cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth. Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the skillet and simmer until the sauce has thickened, 5 to 7 minutes.
Place 1 cup steamed rice on each plate and top (in this order) with 1 patty, some gravy, 1 fried egg, and chopped green onions before serving.