Schmorgurken Hackfleisch Pfanne/ German Cucumber Ground Beef Stir Fry

by Kirsten on August 13, 2011 · 13 comments

in Beef & Bison, German Dishes, Main Dishes, Savory Dishes

While visiting Berlin my friend Katharina invited us over for dinner to her beautiful apartment in Prenzlauer Berg. Katharina is a wonderful cook, and I was looking forward to what she would create for us.

On the menu was feld salad with warm bacon sauce; classical German potatoes with Schmorgurken, and pork cutlets in creamy red wine sauce. For dessert we had Schwarzwaelder cherry ice cream. Let me tell you, this dinner was out of this world.

Katharina shared with me that she wanted to serve us something regional that I had probably never eaten before, and she was successful! I had never heard or tried Schmorgurken before, but fell in love with it on my very first bite. “Gurken” is the German word for cucumbers and the verb “schmoren” translates into simmering something slowly. Schmorgurken is very regional dish from the Berlin area.

Katharina told me that you use the thicker, uglier cucumbers that have more flesh, and are usually grown in your garden or bought at the local market. You peel and half the cucumber, remove the seeds, and slice it into smaller chunks. The cucumber pieces get sauteed in oil, seasoned, and simmered in some broth. Right before serving you add some cream or creme fraiche and fresh dill.

Here I would like to share with you a variation of the Schmorgurken recipe that incorporates ground beef. It is a very homey dish that just makes you feel good inside.  I already know that this Schmorgurken Hackfleisch Pfanne will have to be cooked at our house many more times. It is heavenly.

Thank you Katharina, Christoph and Mavi for the special dinner and opening your beautiful home to us. We hope to see you soon again!


*  1 pound ( 450 g) ground beef
*  1 onion, chopped
*  2 pounds ( about 1 kg) thick cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cubed
*  1 cup chicken broth
*  8 oz. ( 230 g) creme fraiche
*  1 Tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
*  salt and pepper to season


In a pan over medium high heat brown the ground beef together with the onions until cooked through. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer beef onto a plate but leave some fat in the pan. Set the beef aside.

Add chopped cucumbers to the pan and saute for about 3 minutes on medium heat. Add the chicken  broth and simmer the cucumbers for about 10-15 minutes. Stir in creme fraiche and add the dill. Season with salt and pepper. If the sauce is to liquid thicken with some corn starch.

Serve with rice or potatoes.


One year ago: Mediterranean inspired catfish stew

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Heike November 15, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Really excited to try this tonight. My name might indicate I have some German heritage 🙂 When do you add the beef back?

Nuts about food September 5, 2011 at 12:57 pm

First of all so glad to see you are back, missed reading your blog this summer. I had never heard of this recipe for Gurken although my mother is originally from Berlin and my sister lived there for many years. Will discuss it with them!

mixedsoup August 19, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Oooh yeah! Kirsten, my cucumbers are finally ready for harvesting – this dish will be perfect. After my recent research on, this recipe will be a nod to my German roots (although I've come to find I'm a real heinz 57 american;). Lovely!

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes August 16, 2011 at 2:07 pm

This sounds delicious, and so comforting on a cool Autumn day! I look forward to making this recipe. Thank you for sharing!

Have a great week and happy cooking!


die Hülkies August 15, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Liebe Kirsten,

lieben Dank für das tolle Rezept. Zwar habe ich mir vorgenommen, meine Urlaubspfunde wieder loszuwerden, aber dieses Rezept läßt sich sicher anpassen. Danke!



Cooking Creation August 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm

I've never had anything like this before and I am intrigued!

A SPICY PERSPECTIVE August 15, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Wow–this is a totally new concept for me. So curious!

kitchen flavours August 15, 2011 at 5:28 am

This looks so delicious! Simple ingredients but full of flavour! Would love to try this someday.
Have a lovely week, Kirsten!

Gloria August 14, 2011 at 11:01 am

look delicious! gloria

kitchen roach/galley roach August 14, 2011 at 3:37 am

Ach, ich hab' mich schon immer gewundert, dass wir Zuhause Gurkengemuese gegessen haben und keiner meiner Freunde es kannte in Oberbayern. Denke, dass meine Oma es bei einem ihrer Besuche aus Berlin mitgebracht hat und meine Mutter es uebernommen hat.

Karen Harris August 14, 2011 at 3:25 am

This looks so good. I love being served homey regional dishes by friends and family when I am visiting. That's really my favorite part of any visit. So glad you had such a wonderful trip.

Sarah August 14, 2011 at 1:08 am

what a lovely and hearty bowlful! this is awesome!

From Beyond My Kitchen Window August 13, 2011 at 11:31 pm

I love these types of dishes. A few good ingredients, simply prepared with delicious results. Sounds yummy!

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