Burger & fries, so nice ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

22 August 2012

Burger & fries, so nice

lamb burger with goat cheese and caramelized onions

Meat doesn't usually play that large a role at our house. John doesn't eat meat, so he's obviously out of any meat-based plan. I do eat meat, but I don't eat very much of it. An overabundance of meat--by which I mean "more than one meat-based meal within two to three days"--makes me feel pretty awful. So when I do eat meat, I want it to be GREAT.

Enter the lamb burger.

Lamb is my favorite meat by any measure. Beef does not do it for me except on extremely limited "MUST HAVE STEAK NOW" occasions, which happen no more than once a year. Bacon is okay and everything, but I certainly don't fetishize it to the extent that the rest of popular culture seems to. I tend to use pork as a flavoring instead of a main ingredient anyway. Chicken and turkey are okay, but they can be boring, and are certainly pretty disgusting to work with raw. That leaves lamb--rich, flavorful, and great to use in any number of complex savory applications. What's not to love?

So the other day we set out to make the most satisfying of burger feasts. Spiced lamb burger for me; veggie burger for John; oven fries and onion rings and delicious sourdough buns and caramelized onions for us both. Hooray!

homemade baked fries and onion rings

Oven fries are pretty standard at our house: cut potatoes into fries, toss in olive oil, salt, and any spices you like, and bake until delicious. We decided to try out using garam masala, which worked admirably. The onion rings were a much more iffy endeavor--we didn't have any parchment paper, so they really wanted to stick to the pan. I think I'm going to have to work on that one a little more.

The burger, however, was excellent.

Spiced lamb burger

ground lamb
olive oil
finely minced garlic
chopped scallion
chopped red pepper
salt, pepper

I made four burgers with half a pound of ground lamb and about 2/3 cup of breadcrumbs. The proportions of all the other additions are up to your personal taste. In fact, go ahead and mix and match your burger additions--practically any vegetable or spice that sounds like it'll be good with lamb should work out. Just make sure to chop all your vegetables very finely, so they can integrate well with the overall mixture. I used a couple cloves of garlic, a small handful of scallion greens, and about a quarter of a red pepper.

Mix all your burger ingredients together with your hands. When you have a relatively uniform texture, wash your hands, wet them, and form the mixture into burger patties. Keep in mind that they're going to shrink up a bit when cooked.

Fry your burger in a hot pan for about three minutes. Shake the pan to loosen the burger before you flip it. Cook another three minutes, or until the meat is done to your taste. Timing is definitely going to vary based on the strength of your stove.

When you're nearly done cooking your burger, toast the bun of your choice. I split my bun and stuck it straight into the pan with my rendered lamb fat, which worked out extremely well.

Serve your burger on your bun with all the various bits and pieces you like. For this application, I added dijon mustard, goat cheese, caramelized onions, and a big handful of spicy greens, to imitate the most excellent Lafayette burger at Cafe Lafayette in Brooklyn--probably my favorite burger of all time. John had his veggie burger with everything but the goat cheese. And we both had fries and onion rings and lots of ketchup.

Eat your finished burger whatever you like best--fries or onion rings or chips or pickles or a salad or anything else at all. Hooray!

I was only going to eat one burger, but my meat mixture produced four patties. No problem--we have a freezer for a reason.

lamb burgers for freezer storage

So I layered each raw patty on a piece of tinfoil (the curse of no parchment paper strikes again!) and stacked them up in a 2-cup deli container. Then I just stuck the entire thing in the freezer. Now I have a stash of nearly instant burgers, ready for future application.

What's your favorite burger? What combinations of condiments do you guys like best?


emmycooks said...

I'm with John--it's a lentil burger for me! :) I am all over those oven fries, though, and I can't wait for you to perfect the baked onion rings recipe. :)

Veronica said...

At the risk of horrifying everyone everywhere... my favorite burger is a 'ham'burger - that's right, made with ground pork. Very savory and juicy, and I add mustard and pickles and real tomato.

Michelle said...

Lamb is absolutely the king of meats for me, too. Must try these burgers!!

Monet said...

Can you believe I've never had a lamb burger before? Crazy, I know. We didn't grow up eating lamb (unfortunately) but now I feel like I have a whole new world to explore. Thank you for sharing this looks just delicious!

Cakewhiz said...

I just woke up and instead of breakfast, i just want to eat a burger...lol

My favorite is a soy veggie burger.mmmmmm! I like it with lettuce and onions. Not too fond of mayo or mustard :S

Sippity Sup said...

Lamb is a flavorful burger indeed. GREG

Jes said...

Mmm, lamb burgers--love them! I should really cook more with it, given the great lamb farm we have close by. And fries!

elizabeth ranger said...

oh. my. glob. You're a genius, you know, I want lamb burgers like crazy now. Also, the garam masala fries sounds like a great touch.

Ted Bourbeau said...

Ever since I can remember, I have enjoyed eating barbecue burgers. The taste of ground beef mixed with onions has a sweet and spicy aftertaste, which is heavenly in my palate. I also love the taste of grilled bun with a little barbecue sauce. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water!

Hope Williams said...

That's a pretty good combination of ingredients, Eileen. Have you tried mixing it with eggs? If you do that, it'll make the patty firmer, thus preventing the ingredients from separating to the ground lamb. Anyway, breadcrumbs are a good alternative.