The Ultimate American Lamb Burger

Source: Vice President/Corporate Chef Edward Leonard, Le Cordon Bleu Schools in North America; American Lamb Board
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Main Ingredient: Game
Menu Part: Entree
Cuisine Type: American
Serves: 12

Ground lamb, cumin and mint give these burgers a pronounced Mediterranean accent. Add roasted pepper and tomato relish and place the patties on black olive buns, and the accent deepens. The pan-fried eggplant and minted ricotta cream accompaniments complete the Mediterranean journey.

Ingredients

Burgers:
3 lb. lean American lamb, ground or minced
6 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
3/4 cup fine bread crumbs
1 cup sour cream
6 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
3 tbsp. best lamb spice
3 tbsp. paprika
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. ground cumin
¾ tsp. ground black pepper
Sea salt, to taste
12 black olive rolls, sliced

Roasted Pepper and Tomato Relish:
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups vinegar
3/4 tsp. ground turmeric
3/4 tsp. mustard seed
6 roasted red peppers, finely diced
18 plum tomatoes, skinned, deseeded, cored and diced
6 shallots, minced

Pan-Fried Eggplant
2 med. eggplant
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. fresh basil, minced
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
Salad oil, as needed

Minted Ricotta Cream
1 1/2 cups ricotta
1 cup thickened cream
1 cup finely chopped mint

Steps

  1. For Lamb Burgers: Mix together all ingredients well. Form into 12 patties; let rest in walk-in.
  2. Prepare Roasted Pepper and Tomato Relish: In med. saucepan, dissolve sugar in vinegar. Add turmeric and mustard seed. Place over med. heat; bring to a boil. Add peppers, tomatoes and shallots; cook for 8 min.
  3. Prepare Pan-Fried Eggplant: Pare eggplants; cut into 12 slices, ½ in. thick.  Salt eggplant lightly on both sides; let sit for 20 min.  Rinse slices and dry well.  
  4. Combine eggs, buttermilk, oil and basil. Dip eggplant slices in flour that has been seasoned with salt and pepper, then dip in egg mixture. Dredge in crumbs. Cover slices well; let sit for 2 min.
  5. Fry eggplant slowly in skillet with hot oil until browned on one side and rather transparent. Turn and brown on other side.
  6. Prepare Minted Ricotta Cream: Combine ricotta, cream and mint.
  7. For service: Grill lamb burgers until desired doneness; (med. is recommended.) Remove from heat.
  8. Place an eggplant slice then equal amounts of relish on each black olive roll base. Place on a burger; top with Minted Ricotta Cream and cover with top of roll.