Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lamb Burgers

It was Good Shepherd Sunday this past weekend, which had me thinking about sheep, lambs, and other delicious domestic critters. My favourite place for Lamb in the GTA is Vince Gasparro's on Bloor West (near Ossington). Vince, the dad, raises the lamb on a farm outside the city. His sons, Pat and Nick, run the butcher shop. The lamb they sell is gorgeous stuff (but they also carry chicken, beef, pork, etc.). While I was out and about running errands and doing church stuff I drove by and decided to pick up some ground lamb to make lamb burgers for supper. Nick ground a chunk fresh for me, and at home I improvised the recipe below. The buns, I should say, came from another full-service butcher shop that people like to talk about, Nortown Foods. Nortown is nice, but a little far away from me. And I appreciate the very down-to-earth character of Gasparro's. I was in my collar, so the guys had a good time with that, joking about how I needed to hear their brothers' confessions. I've heard that before, and used my standard response ("well, I only have a few hours, so we may need to do this in parts"). I've adjusted the recipe for 4 people, but the amounts are very approximate, anyway. This was quick to fix up and is a real crowd pleaser:

Lamb Burgers
by Tay

For the patties
2 Lbs. fresh ground lamb
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. powdered onion
1 tsp. powdered garlic
1 tsp. salt
3 grinds black pepper

Preheat your grill to medium-high. Remember to put a little oil on the grill shortly before putting the patties on to help with sticking.

Mix this all up in a bowl with your hands. Don't over-knead, just combine. Then make 8oz balls (yes, actually weigh it, precision counts in this case), flatten into patties but create a dimple in the middle with your thumb. Depending on how fatty your ground lamb is, these may barely stick together, so be ginger with them.

Put the patties on the grill, turn down the heat to medium. Watch the flair ups. You may need to move the patties if it's getting particularly bad. It's a minor sin to move burgers while they are cooking, so be careful if you do so. Under no circumstances should you ever puncture or squeeze a burger--we want to maintain those juices!

They will take approximately 5 minutes a side. Check for doneness in the usual ways.

For the sauce
1 Cup Greek Yogurt (UNSWEETENED/flavored!)
1 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. dill
2 tsp thyme (fresh is best, dried ok)
2 tsp. powdered onion
2 tsp. powdered garlic
1 tsp. salt
6 grinds black pepper

Combine in a bowl, serve with with the burgers as a spread. Feel free to monkey with the spice proportions or add stuff like rosemary.

Toast some kaiser rolls to use as buns. Serve with sliced tomato, lettuce, grilled or fresh red onion, bacon, etc., etc. I would probably not put out ketchup or mustard, in this case.

* And yes, this recipe would work very well without a grill, as well. Just use a cast iron pan on your stove.

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