August 30, 2007

Lamb Burgers

A few weeks back, I was listening to cookbook author Claudia Roden talk about kibbeh on one of the food podcasts I listen to. (I think it was The Splendid Table, but it may have been another one.) Kibbeh is a dish that is prepared all over the Middle East in an infinite number of regional variations. It's one constant ingredient is ground or minced lamb. Sometimes the lamb is mixed with bulgur and eaten raw, sometimes it is made into meatballs and cooked, and sometimes it is made into patties and grilled.

Roden described one of her favorite recipes for kibbeh, in which ground lamb is mixed with grated onion and grilled. I thought the grated onion sounded like a great touch for adding flavor and moistness. I tried out the idea in some lamb burgers I made last night, and they were great. (I'm also going to try this the next time I make turkey burgers, which are very difficult to keep moist.)

Recipe for lamb burgers follows:


  1. Gently mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until combined.
  2. Shape into patties (I made 3 fairly thick patties), and cook in a skillet on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes on the first side and 3 minutes on the second side, or to desired doneness.

I served these with roasted cauliflower (recipe to follow), homemade tzatziki, and store-bought baba ganoush.

Posted by spaceling at 10:47 AM

April 25, 2006

Leftover Lamb and Chickpea Curry

A couple of nights ago, Daniel and I had dinner with a friend of ours at Amber, a very good Indian restaurant down at Santana Row. We came home with some leftovers, including some lamb shank that had been braised with ginger and other spices.

Tonight, I concocted a curry using the leftover lamb. It was very loosely based on recipe from Jamie Oliver's Happy Days Live DVD. It came out very tasty, though the lamb ended up being more of a flavor accent than a main ingredient. Unlike most of my previous attempts at curry, it really tasted like a curry, thanks in part, I think to a secret ingredient - a can of light coconut milk. Using good quality curry powder probably helped as well.


The Steps

  1. Cook the onion in a bit of vegetable oil until it is soft and starts to brown.
  2. Toss in the ginger, curry powder, and garam masala, and cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring.
  3. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and coconut milk. Bring it to a simmer, and cook everything, stirring, until the sauce thickens up a little.
  4. Toss in the lamb, and cook until heated through.

Very tasty. I'll have to try adapting the recipe so that I can make it starting with raw lamb or chicken - I don't usually have leftover lamb shank lying around.

Posted by spaceling at 10:12 PM

January 10, 2006

Lamb Mushroom Burgers

I picked up some ground lamb yesterday, and came home from work tonight with a mind to cook it for dinner. I was in the mood for something relatively quick and simple, so I ended up adapting a recipe for "Peppery Mushroom Burgers" from the Weight Watcher's Five Ingredient 15 Minute Cookbook. Made with ground lamb instead of lean ground beef, these burgers are probably no longer ideal Weight Watcher's fare, but they sure are tasty.


The Steps

  1. Coarsely chop about 1 cup of the mushrooms. Slice the rest and set aside.
  2. Mix the chopped mushrooms in a bowl with the lamb and 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce. I find the best way to mix the stuff up is with your hands. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Shape the mixture into 3 fairly thick patties. Give the surfaces of the patties a liberal dusting with fresh-ground black pepper.
  4. Coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat it over medium high heat. Cook the patties until done (5 minutes per side for medium). Remove to a plate and keep warm.
  5. Add wine, water, and sliced mushrooms to the pan. Stir and cook until the liquid is reduced and the mushrooms are tender. Add salt, pepper, and additional Worcestershire sauce to taste. Serve burgers wtih mushrooms and sauce spooned over them.

I served these with brown rice (alas, it was Uncle Ben's quick-cooking brown rice, and it might as well have been pellets of wallpaper paste for all the flavor it had; yuck), and a salad of mâche, tomato, olives, red bell pepper, and avocado, dressed with a creme fraiche and shallot dressing (made up for the disappointing brown rice).

(And yes, I know, the tomatoes are so not seasonal right now. But they looked lovely when I saw them at Mollie Stone's, and when I picked them up and smelled them, they had a beautiful tomato smell, so I bought some. They were tasty - much tastier than your ordinary supermarket tomato. Next time I'm there, I'll have to see if I can figure out where they got them.)

This was a really nice dish. The burgers got brown and crusty on the outside, but were pink and juicy inside, and the mushrooms cooked in the red wine were succulent. Mmmm.

It also occurs to me, that with its meat, mushrooms, red wine, and Worcestershire sauce, this recipe could have been inspired by Barbara's recent post on Umami in the West over at Tigers and Strawberries. I didn't consciously have Barbara's post in mind, but her recent posts on the subject have sure got me thinking about ways of using umami to boost flavor in my cooking. Get some glutamate on your plate!

Posted by spaceling at 09:21 PM | TrackBack