22 August 2012
Burger & fries, so nice
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!
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
finely minced garlic
chopped red 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.
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?