Friday, April 17, 2015

Lamb Burgers to Die For

Birthday Cake with Blackberry Mascarpone Filling (recipe to come)
Hello! I have had guests for the past weeks, coming and going. It's been wonderful having our friend Rich visiting, as well as his significant other, Heidi, and always a stupendous lot of fun when my son Kenneth and his wife Julia come to visit. Because of the amount of guests, and amount of food prep and other things attendant on having guests in the house, I hadn't managed to get to a blog for about 11 days now. It is good to have the house quiet again, no matter how I love them all. So here I am, back at my blog, and a year older, too!

I just had my 65th birthday yesterday, though we celebrated with our guests last weekend. Yesterday was totally normal day with work to be done, though my friend Deb took me out to lunch, which was excellent.

My Calamata Tapenade
When my son and his wife visit, I try to make some favorite things. I have used a recipe for lamb burgers found on the internet quite a few years ago. This was long before I had any idea about writing a blog, maintaining a website or any such thing. This year I got out the recipe and taking a good look, realized I probably never actually used the recipe except as a guideline. For example, the original recipe calls for 2 1/2 pounds of ground lamb and only 2 cloves of garlic, for starters. I love garlic, and so does almost everyone I cook for. I used 6 large cloves of garlic when making these burgers last week. And, so it went with a lot of the recipe.

The recipe called also for making a tapenade to go on the burgers and while I like tapenade (or what passes for tapenade in jars in the grocery), I had never made it myself. My husband wouldn't eat it anyway, so if it is just the two of us, I wouldn't bother. But in talking to friend Rich, along with Ken and Julia - they all love tapenade, or at least olives, so that was the one totally new and different thing I did this time. Julia made a run to the nearby grocery and brought back some marinated Calamata olives. If I made this tapenade again (and I most certainly will!), I would look for these same olives, because the flavor was so excellent. I had only 4 remaining ("orphan") Kalamata Olives in a jar in the fridge, so I added these to the ones Julia brought home in making the tapenade.

My son, Kenneth
I pride myself on grilling things pretty well, but I have to hand it to my son - he just has a knack. My grill racks get scraped down when I grill and all, but I have not cleaned the pan below. The lamb was quite fatty also, and all this contributed to a total conflagration. On my own, I would likely have burnt the burgers. Ken came out to tend them and managed to bring in perfectly done burgers, with perfectly soft Feta on top. I was way amazed at his grilling prowess. Yea, Kenneth!

We came to the table to eat and such was the excitement that I absolutely and completely forgot to take photos of these amazing burgers. Good grief! All I got was one photo of the two remaining burgers on the serving plate and the dregs of the remaining tapenade. Not the best or prettiest photos, for sure, though one can certainly see the perfection of the grilled burgers. While great photos are sadly lacking here, I pray that anyone who loves lamb might try these recipes out, because oh, MAN are they ever just to-die-for-good!

Perfectly Grilled Lamb Burgers

Lamb Burgers with Grilled Feta and Tapenade

makes 6 large burgers

2 1/4 - 2 1/2 pounds ground lamb
6 cloves garlic, finely minced, or through a garlic press
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, minced
3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, minced
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Garrigue Seasoning, optional

8 ounces Feta Cheese, cut into approximately 6 slices

Mix all the burger ingredients well and form patties of approximately 1/4 pound apiece. Grill the burgers to desired doneness. Use a grill pan for the Feta, to soften. Feta does not really melt, but will warm nicely. Set one slice of Feta atop each burger. Serve with Tapenade on buns. A heftier, larger type of bun is needed for these large burgers than the cheaper types of bun available!

Olives I used for Tapenade
enough for 6 burgers

7 - 8 ounces pitted Calamata/Kalamata olives, drained
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely minced
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil (more, or less, as desired)

Place the olives, parsley and garlic in a food processor to finely chop. With processor running, add in olive oil until the mixture is at the consistency you prefer. 

Serve the tapenade on the side, to spread onto the buns when serving.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.