Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lamb Burgers with Walnut Sauce

Lamb Burger

I read a lot of blogs. And I buy a lot of cookbooks. Sometimes the two collide, and I read cook-through blogs like Alinea at Home or Momofuku for 2, or, more pertinent to this post, Melissa Cooks Gourmet. These brave souls are channeling Julie Powell and cooking all the way through a cookbook. Melissa started out with the original yellow-bound Gourmet cookbook, but since Gourmet Today came out last winter she has also featured a few recipes from the new edition. 

Which brings us to these lamb burgers. I actually own Gourmet Today, but I tend to be a little guilty of ignoring my cookbooks, so when Melissa mentioned this recipe that is right there on page 486 I got up out of my chair and grabbed the book off my shelf. I actually got up, that is how moved I was by the idea of a lamb burger. 

And allspice! Seriously, why didn't anybody ever tell me about allspice before? There's actually only a quarter teaspoon in these burgers, but it goes so well with lamb that's really all you need. It's such a strong flavor though; don't be tempted to throw in any extra or you risk it overpowering the savory-ness and making your burgers taste like Christmas cookies.

A few notes about construction: I skipped the food processor. I just chopped my onion and herbs into really small pieces, and I swear I had the best of intentions - I wanted to practice my brunoise cut (1/8th inch cubes) on onions, which I still have trouble with. In hindsight, there may be a reason for you to pulse the mixture in a food processor. It would be more cohesive and less likely to fall apart when you try to flip it. I tried to flip one but it didn't work, so I just left them on the original side until they cooked through, which took more like fifteen minutes than "five to seven," but my oven is... persnickety. 

Oh, and if you're feeling ambitious, this white whole wheat pita recipe from King Arthur is very good. Oh again, and the salad is just white beans, cherry tomatoes, black olives and green peppers with a little olive oil and red wine vinegar and a little blue cheese from Sugarbush Farm

Lamb Burgers with Walnut Sauce
adapted from Gourmet

makes 4 burgers

Per my notes above, you could easily make the burgers in a food processor as the original recipe suggests, I'd just chop the onion into big chunks instead of chopping it very fine and zap the onion and bulgur together a bit before adding the rest of the ingredients.

For the walnut sauce:
1 small clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons lemon juice (or to taste)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup water

Mash the garlic clove into a paste with the salt using the flat edge of a knife, then mix it with the rest of the ingredients in a food processor until well blended. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, mine needed more salt and more lemon juice.

For the burgers:
1 cup boiling hot water
1/3 cup bulgur wheat
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 small onion, diced as fine as you can get it
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 lb ground lamb
4 small (4 inch) pita breads for serving, plus lettuce if you're going the sandwich route

Put the bulgur and salt in a bowl, and pour the boiling hot water on top of it. Let it sit for fifteen minutes or so until the bulgur plumps up. Drain it thoroughly in a strainer.

Mix the drained bulgur with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, being careful not to over-mix. Form the mixture into four patties. At this point you can refrigerate the burgers, loosely covered in plastic wrap, for a couple of hours if you need to, or for ten minutes while you pre-heat the broiler.

Cook the burgers under the broiler until they are cooked through, turning once if you can. The recipe suggests 5-7 minutes, but mine took more like twelve minutes.

Serve the burgers topped with the walnut sauce, in or on warm pita bread. We stuck a little lettuce in ours for crunch, too. Enjoy!


  1. MOrning Honey,
    I didn't know you had square plates. I like them.

  2. Ooooh, yes please! I've been having a weird craving for lamb lately so these look delicious! Oh, and I love the racer 5 peeking out! Nice.

  3. Thanks, mom. They were Adam's, bought for a party at some point so there would be matching plates. They're a good size for small dinners or lunch :)

    Jeannette - They are SO GOOD. And don't skip the walnut sauce, it's super easy and very, very delicious.

  4. Glad to hear my son in law is concerned about having matching plates for his guests.

  5. I'm still trying to learn to like lamb since I get it in my meat csa. I'll need to try these burgers. Anything with a walnut sauce can't be bad :)