Thursday, August 2, 2007

Lamb Burgers

I enjoy a big, juicy hamburger as much as the next carnivore but I'm also a huge fan of ground lamb, especially the lamb from the Umpqua Valley in Oregon. Sure, it's free-range, pesticide, all natural lamb. But there must be something in the grass the sheep graze on. I'm guessing fairy dust. The lamb is beautifully pink and tender and full of moist, spectacular flavor. It's the only kind of ground lamb I'll buy (and I'm not usually that militant about my sources...but this stuff is special).

When I think lamb I also think "Mediterranean" so the flavors of that region factor in. Served in warm pita bread, with onion, cuke and tomato "salsa" and lashings of yogurt sauce, this is a simple summertime meal that yields big flavor for minimal effort.

Lamb Burgers
1/4 c. pine nuts
1 # ground lamb
1 T. garlic ginger paste (Look for it among the East Indian products in your grocer's. If you can't find it substitute a couple cloves of garlic, finely chopped and about 1 T. of freshly grated ginger-root. I used the paste because I had some and I was too hot to fuss much).
1/2-1 t. chili powder (to taste)
1 t. cumin seed, lightly toasted and ground
a pinch of salt
a few grinds of black pepper

In a dry skillet over medium high heat toast the pine nuts just until they brown. (Watch them...they are high in oil so they can go from perfect to ruined in the blink of an eye). Coarsely chop the pine nuts.

Combine pine nuts, lamb and seasonings, mixing with clean hands until everything is combined.

Form into patties, about 2 or 3 inches across.

Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Fry the lamb, browning well on both sides.

Serve with warm pita bread and accompaniments.

Onion, Tomato and Cucumber "Salsa"
1 small sweet onion, diced
1 medium beefsteak or 4 roma tomatoes, diced
1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded, then diced.

Combine all the diced vegetables in a bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of sauce and stir. (You could add a handful of chopped cilantro if you wanted).

Yogurt Sauce (Tzaziki)

1 c. non-fat plain yogurt
1/2 c. diced cucumber
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
pinch of salt

Combine all the ingredients and refrigerate until serving time. The sauce can be served right away but the flavor improves if allowed to sit for a while.


Seattle Coffee Girl said...

That, and a bottle of Windex, and you've got an ideal Greek summer meal. This looks wonderful!

Will be adding this to an upcoming weekly menu; thanks for the delicious inspiration!

Lorraine said...

LOL, SCG. "What you mean he don't eat no meat? Oh, that's ok. I'll make lamb".

Jon said...

I'm salivating like Pavlov's dog. That sounds like one of my favorite things.

Lorraine said...

Wipe your chin and mix some up, there, Buck!

more cowbell said...

OK, I was cruising along at the foodie site, not too intimidated, thinking hey, this is fun! when I came across the lamb burgers. Lamb? The baby kind? I am pretending this picture is those cookies, the ones with oatmeal and chocolate and whatever else.

Lorraine said...

Yeah, CB, we're carnivores. I could apologize, but I won't. The cookie technique is a good one.