Monday, August 31, 2015

Lamb Burger – Arugula, Feta, Olive and Sun-dried Tomato topping

                      Lamb Burger – Arugula, Feta, Olive and Sun-dried Tomato topping
Sous Vide and Grill methods

Serves: 4
Difficulty: Moderate
Sous Vide temp: 140 degree F; Time: 40-60 minutes
Lamb Burger – Arugula, Feta, Olive and Sun-dried Tomato topping
In Greece and in much of the Middle East and Asia, the meat of choice is lamb – either whole pieces or patties and sausages.  I have shared many lamb recipes on this blog but not a burger. What an oversight! Don't get me wrong, I love beef burgers but every once in a while you might want something different. This recipe will satisfy that craving. I cooked it sous vide which virtually eliminates any possibility of over-cooking, but also provide the traditional methods in this recipe. I love lamb burgers and the addition of the ground pork adds some moisture and umphhhh! A tangy topping of feta, arugula, olives and sun-dried or oven-dried tomatoes enhances these burgers. Parsley, mint, dill, cumin, oregano and garlic give these burgers a lively flavor reminiscent of lamb gyro.

Other spectacular lamb dishes worthy of repeat are:
Lamb Kebabs in a Pomegranate-Walnut Marinade
  • 2 Tb plus 3 tsp extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 4 Tb minced yellow onion
  • 2 lbs ground lamb
  • 5 oz. ground pork
  • 3 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1½ tsp each finely chopped parsley, mint, and dill
  • 1 tsp dried oregano, preferably Greek
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • ½ C crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 oz baby arugula
  • 10 black olives in oil, drained, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 10-12 sun-dried, or oven dried, tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 3 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4 hamburger buns, toasted, spread extra olive oil lightly over toasted buns 

Heat 2 Tb oil in skillet over med-high heat. Add minced yellow onions; cook until lightly brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer onions to a plate; let cool. In a bowl, mix onions, lamb, pork, mustard, herbs, spices, garlic, scallions and salt and pepper. Mix gently. Do not over knead. Pull off a small piece of mixture and fry quickly. Taste this cooked piece to assess seasonings. Adjust accordingly. Form meat into 1” thick patties, about 6 oz. each; set aside.
Mint, parsley and dill for the meat
Grated onions...on a box grater, gloves to protect your hands!
so many good things
Do your best to have all burgers approximately the same size!

In a small bowl, combine feta, arugula, olives and tomatoes; toss with 3 tsp of olive oil and 3 tsp of lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Set aside until burgers are cooked.

Key ingredients for the greens
Ready to layer onto the burger

For grill: Prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire or heat a gas grill to medium-high (or heat a Tb of canola oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat). Grill burgers, flipping once, until browned and cooked to desired doneness, about 10 minutes for medium-rare. 

For sous vide cooking: Preheat water bath to 140 degree for medium lamb burger. Place the patties in their individual zip lock bags sealing by displacement method. To do this, slowly lower your bagged patties into a pot of water letting the pressure of the water press air out through the top of the bag. Once the air is out, carefully seal the bag. Vacuum sealing is not an option with burgers as the significant compression flattens the meat and pushes other ingredients out. Cook 40-60 minutes.

After you take the food out of the pouches, gently pat dry, either with paper towels or clean kitchen towels. The goal of post sous vide browning is to create the crust while heating the interior of the food as little as possible. This is accomplished by using dry foods, high temperatures, and short times. Place a heavy cast ion or stainless steel skillet with 1 Tb vegetable or canola oil over the hot burner and preheat skillet until it starts to smoke. Gently lay the patties in the skillet. After 15-30 seconds, flip the patties so that the second side comes in contact with the pan.

To assemble: Toast buns, lightly coat with a bit of olive oil, and place each burger on the bottom half of a bun and top each with the arugula mix and bun top. Carefully slice in half and serve.  If you are longing for some mint sauce you could provide it to your guests. To make your own: take 2 tsp sugar, 2 tsp hot water and 3 Tb white wine vinegar. Stir together until sugar is dissolved. Add ½ C minced fresh mint – mix and serve as a side. Simple, yes!

I love this meal – meat (lamb!), bread and a salad – all in one place. Perfection. It is amazing with a California Syrah. Give it a try.


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