10 January 2014
Lamb burgers with yogurt and dijon mustard sauce
Well. The beginning of 2014 has turned out to be unexpectedly challenging so far. I for one am feeling pretty tired and ready for some serious comfort food. It's time for burgers.
At our house, burgers are usually Jenna of good good things' BBQ pinto bean burgers. You should absolutely give these a try, if you haven't already. SO GOOD. I made up a huge batch to freeze several months ago, and was that ever a good idea. The only problem was that we ate them all, and I haven't made up another batch yet.
So this time, exhausted and in need of immediate protein infusion, I went for a lamb burger.
Lamb is absolutely my burger meat of choice. Beef has that tallowy mouthfeel; pork is too much fat all at once; chicken is boring and easy to overcook. Lamb, in contrast, is delicious and strong, juicy and intense, and it matches super well with all the seasonings I like best (read: practically all of them). Ginger and lemongrass, soy sauce with hot chili pepper and garlic, feta and artichoke, bell pepper and onion piperade--any combination is delicious.
I grabbed a red onion and a bell pepper, ripped up a piece of bread, and went to work. Burgers!
For garnish, I decided to make up a micro-batch of a really easy, really delicious sauce. It's the easiest thing on the planet: plain yogurt with dijon mustard. This stuff is the best possible idea as long as you like both yogurt and mustard. Mixing them together creates a spicy, tangy sauce that is far more than the sum of its parts, and takes literally seconds to make. Perfect.
The mighty lamb burger
1/4 of a red onion
1/4 of a red bell pepper
1/2-2/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 lb ground lamb
Start by chopping your vegetables as finely as possible. Finer bits will adhere better to the finished burgers. You can, as mentioned, add more things to your lamb burgers. Some garlic would be nice, as would a big handful of fresh parsley, but this time I kept it simple.
If you don't have any breadcrumbs around, chop up a piece of bread too. No problem! Also no trips to the store to buy something as cheap and easy to make as breadcrumbs.
Note that breadcrumbs are mandatory in a good burger. They keep it moist and tender, eliminating the "solid meat hockey puck" issue. Do not make these without breadcrumbs.
Mix everything together in a big bowl with your hands. Yeah!!
Form the meat mixture into reasonable burger-sized patties. I made three from this amount, but you could definitely make four slightly smaller patties if you wanted to. Freeze any burgers you don't want to cook immediately with a square of parchment paper in between them. Then you can just defrost and cook them in times of future burger emergency.
Fry your lamb burgers over high heat for about four minutes on the first side. Flip, reduce the heat, cover, and continue to cook on medium to medium-low for another four or so minutes. The time is going to depend on how hot your stove runs, so check for doneness and cook longer if necessary. Just imagine you're making a grilled cheese sandwich and you should be good.
Serve on a delightful toasted bun with the condiments, cheese, and vegetables of your choice. I used the aforementioned yogurt and mustard sauce plus a whole lot of crispy romaine lettuce. Fries are not mandatory, but they're certainly recommended.
Yogurt and dijon mustard sauce
plain full-fat yogurt
dijon mustard (or probably any good spicy mustard)
This is the easiest sauce ever. Simply mix together roughly equal amounts of yogurt and mustard until smooth. Taste and decide whether you want to spice it up with more mustard or tang it up with more yogurt.
Serve on a lamb burger, as a dipping sauce for fries, or use to garnish cooked vegetables. I tried this with roasted carrot, and it was excellent. Steamed broccoli is on the to-try list as well.
Together, these guys made a plate of comfort food at its finest. What hearty dishes are you cooking in the depths of winter?