Saturday, 21 September 2013

Homemade Lamb Burgers

Apologies for the lack of content for over a year - in December 2012 i moved back to the UK from France, and as a result, my kitchen facilities have been lacking until fairly recently. However, to celebrate the resumption of posting, i thought i'd do something that almost everyone loves - BURGERS!

I've made burgers before, from regular old beef mince, but i fancied something different. Lamb seems to be underused these days, probably because it seems to be priced as a 'premium' meat, which is unfortunate, as Lamb tastes amazing.

You will need the following ingredients:

2 x 600g (~21oz) of Lamb Mince (again, you can use beef, pork or turkey mince if you prefer)
2 x Large Shallots - approximately 100g (3.5oz) worth.
3 x Garlic Cloves
1 x Slice White Bread
1 x Egg
Burger Buns
Sliced Cheese
Sliced Beetroot
Bacon (optional)

Utensils Needed:

Chopping Board
Chefs Knife
Large Mixing Bowl
Food Processor or Blender
Baking Sheet
Griddle Pan or Frying Pan

Before i start, a little word about herbs. Depending on the type of meat you're using as a base, you'll want to use a different herb. Obviously if there's something in particular you like, use it - but for those who don't know what goes with what, here's a quick tip; for Lamb use Rosemary, for Beef use Parsley or Coriander Leaf, for Pork use Sage, and for Turkey or any other kind of poultry, use Thyme (feel free to add some lemon juice, too).

 First, peel and chop the shallots and garlic as shown below.

Put them in the frying pan with a little olive oil and a grind of salt. Sweat on a low heat. It's entirely upto you as to whether you caramelise them or not - remember, these will be getting cooked through again.

While the onions & garlic are cooking, take the slice of white bread, and add them to a blender, or food processor. Blitz for a few seconds until you end up with lovely breadcrumbs! Beat the egg, and decant the mince into your mixing bowl.

The next bit is stupidly easy, but very, very messy - you need to get stuck in with your hands, so have a bowl of hand washing water on standby! Add the sweated onions, breadcrumbs and beaten egg to the mince in the bowl. Mix thoroughly.

After a few minutes, you should end up with something looking a bit like this:

From here on out, it's simple. Weigh out however much mince you want your burger to weigh, roll into a ball, and form into patties with your hands. Place the finished patties on your baking sheet and place in the fridge for at least an hour.

Then it's a simple matter of cooking them. I prefer to toast each half of the bun for about 30 seconds on each side to stop the bun from disintegrating when you put your hot, juicy burger patty on it. I do this by placing them face down in a DRY frying pan or griddle.

When it comes to cooking the patties themselves, you want as little oil as possible in the pan - lamb can be fatty enough on its own, you don't need to add a lot. For leaner meats, compensate accordingly. The best tip is to cook low and slow. You dont want a raging heat as you'll simply end up charring the outside, while the middle remains raw. For thinner burgers this isn't so much of an issue, but if, like me, you like a nice, thick 8 ounce burger, you'd be wise to check it by taking a skewer and seeing if the juices in the middle run clear.

Remember as well that the burger will continue to cook once you've removed it from the heat, so you can take them off a little earlier than you would normally. It's perfectly fine as well, to cook the burger to medium rare.

Now all you have to do, is plate up - i like to add sliced beetroot and a rasher or two of smoked bacon as an additional topping, but again, all entirely up to you :)

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