A few days ago while standing in front of the meat counter at a local market, I was stunned when I checked the price of lamb chops.
They were in the stratosphere and definitely not a possibility for a grill meal I was planning for a few friends.
However, right next to the expensive cuts I spotted ground lamb, which was quite reasonable, so I ordered a pound and within minutes was strategizing about how I would use my purchase.
The meat I decided would be turned into burgers and served with some new and unexpected garnishes.
I seasoned the lamb with curry powder, ground tumeric, and cumin to give it a spicy layer of flavoring, then shaped it into patties. Grilled until slightly charred outside and rosy pink within, the burgers were delectable topped with a yogurt sauce (made with Greek style yogurt, ground cumin, and chopped cilantro), then with some baby spinach leaves for crunch, and finally with some store bought mango chutney to add sweet and tart accents.
First, I sampled these burgers with my talented culinary assistant, and she was crazy about them.
Then I mentioned them to another helper who immediately asked for the directions and prepared them twice, once with lamb and another time with ground beef. She reported back that both versions had been winners with her family.
Now I am ready to make them the star of a cookout next week. I'll offer some crisp potato chips and iced tea along side the burgers and as vegetable sides a cucumber and cherry tomato salad and grilled asparagus spears dusted with sesame seeds.
Purchased lemon sorbet sprinkled with chopped pistachios will end our first al fresco meal of the season.
Lamb Burgers with Mango Chutney & Yogurt Sauce Recipe
- 1 pound ground lamb or ground beef (see note)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- Kosher salt
- Olive or vegetable oil for oiling grilled rack
- 4 good quality hamburger buns, lightly toasted
- Yogurt sauce and garnishes
- 1/2 cup Greek style yogurt
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup loosely packed baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup mango chutney (see note)
In a large bowl, mix together ground lamb (or beef), curry powder, cumin, tumeric and 1 teaspoon salt. Knead this mixture with your hands until well blended. Shape mixture into 4 equal sized patties about 4 inches in diameter and about 3/4 inch thick. (Burgers can be prepared 1 day ahead; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)
For yogurt sauce, whisk yogurt, cilantro and cumin together in a small bowl. (Yogurt sauce can be prepared 3 hours ahead; cover and refrigerate.)
To cook, oil a grill rack and arrange 4 to 5 inches from heat source. Prepare grill for a hot fire (high temperature). When hot, add lamb burgers and grill about 3 minutes per side for burgers that are pink in the center or slightly longer for medium. (If you are using ground beef, grill until burgers are cooked through and internal temperature is about 160 degrees.)
Remove burgers from grill and place on bottoms of toasted buns. Salt burgers very lightly, then top each with some yogurt sauce, then with several spinach leaves, and finally with some chutney. Cover with tops of buns. Serves 4.
Notes: I love the taste of ground lamb in these burgers, but 80 lean ground beef also works well.
Note: Trader Joe's Mango and Ginger Chutney is particularly good in this recipe.
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(c) 2009, Betty Rosbottom. Distributed by Tribune Media Services Inc.
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