Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Little Bitty Lambburger

My brother Kelsey raises the best lamb I've ever eaten.  The (heritage) breed is Katahdin and it is bred to withstand our hot and humid climate.  The sheep shed their wool instead of having it sheared and are much more resistant to the pests of some wool sheep (of which I'll just not mention as they are only interesting to shepherds).  Kelsey's sheep are shepherded merrily around the farm with rotational grazing so they are always munching on some good green grass under the hot sun, which, as I said, they tolerate.  The result  is tender, mildly flavorful, and completely delicious.  I always tell people who think they don't like lamb that they've just never eaten this lamb before.  The cuts are smaller so it is eaten more delicately and I always feel so healthy and vibrant after consuming it.  It seems to dance lighter on my pallet than heavier meats like beef or pork and is a wonderful summer time meat.

Here are two lamb chop recipes I have posted before: a simpler version from this past spring including now out-of-season asparagus and some of my thoughts on meat eating;  and the longer version written about the same time, but the spring before.

And here's the other fast-food lamb favorite:

Itty Bitty Lamb Burger

These are amazing on Niedlov's brochen.  Those are the little rolls that are in the basket by the cookies at the cash register.  I like them because they are small and the crust is ever so chewy and crunchy and wonderful.  They certainly aren't for the faint-of-teeth, but they are fabulous teeny burger buns for the rest of us.  

The nice thing about burgers is that they are always in season and can be topped with whatever else is in season and never get boring because the seasons always shift.  Of course the summertime is rich with tomatoes and those are a given when it comes to burgers (or any other aspect of summer).  I used quick cucumber pickles (cukes sliced thin and marinated with some onions, vinegar, and honey for several hours) this time as well as some yogurt cheese for tanginess.  On top of the burger I melted a little slice of Coppinger cheese as well (can't have too much cheese when you're an assistant cheesemaker!).  I also threw on some of my hot pink kraut made with red cabbage.  

How I make my burgers in an oven:

for 3 or four people- depending on what side dishes are on hand
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • a pinch of cumin 
  • a pinch of salt
  • a touch of prepared mustard
Mix the meat with the rest of the ingredients.  They can be changed or omitted at your taste.  Meat is usually just fine the way it is- if you bought the right stuff- so if you don't feel like gathering up seasoning just add a dash of salt and leave it at that.  Divide the meat three or four ways, depending on how hungry you are.  I usually do it four ways if I'm feeding two people, that way you can have seconds if you want but don't have to eat too much if you don't.  I am always satisfied completely by a quarter pound, but some fellas out there might need more.  

Pat the meat out into patties that are larger than your bun by about an inch.  Try to make the middle of the disk a little thinner than the edges- this helps keep an even thickness while cooking.  They will shrink up a lot and lose moisture and a little fat as they cook so you want them both thinner and wider than you think you do.  

Preheat the oven to broil and set a rack close to the broiler.  Put the patties on a grate over a roasting pan.  Broil them til they are browning, beginning to shrink up, and sizzling (about 5-7 minutes), take them from the oven if you need to while flipping them.  Broil for a little less time than the first side, add the cheese, and cook til melted.  Drain on a paper towel or bag (such as the Harvested Here bag my cucumbers came in at the market, pictured below under draining burgers) if needed.  Serve with toasted buns and seasonal accompaniments of your choice.

No comments: