Juicy Lamb Burgers, succulent with rosemary and balsamic vinegar, are just the thing to make you think of spring. You can grill them or cook them in a skillet. Serve them on a bun with hummus and a big slab of grilled red onion. A side order of tender oven-baked sweet potato wedges completes this easy spring-dreamin' feast! (Skip to recipes.)
It's burger time! Spring arrived while we were away and it feels glorious! One of the favourite meals in this house is a loaded homemade burger - the kind you need to learn forward over a plate to eat and have a boatload of napkins on hand as the flavourful juices drip down your arms. Messy and delicious, this kind of food is fun to eat, too. Pair it with tender, charred, sweet potato wedges and it's a home run.
Here in North America, we don't associate lamb with burgers. We are a beef, pork, and chicken country. But in the rest of the world, lamb is much more popular than it is here.
And it's tasty! Lamb chops and leg of lamb are not the only cuts, either. If you want to get started on eating lamb a bit more often, why not try it in a simple burger? Our large local supermarket carries ground lamb in vacuum-sealed packages, and I always have a few in the freezer for making a variety of dishes. Lamb pairs equally well with the mint and pine nut flavour profile of middle Eastern dishes as it does with the rosemary and balsamic flavours of Mediterranean cooking. Rosemary's aromatic piney notes stand up to the richness of lamb and a little shot of balsamic vinegar mellows everything out with a subtle sweet tanginess. These burgers are moist and juicy and may get you on the road to lovin' lamb, if you don't already!
Let's Get Grilling!
But first, let's get those sweet potato wedges roasting since they take a little longer. Toss 'em with oil and seasonings and spread 'em in a pan.
While the oven turns them into buttery perfection, mix up the ground lamb with the burger ingredients. Use wet hands to shape the meat into 4 lovely patties. Then grill them until juicy and still barely pink in the middle. You can use your barbecue grill or a grill pan or skillet on your stove.
Then grill some thick slabs of juicy red onion until they're smokey and tender.
Grill your buns and slather 'em with a thick spread of hummus.
Now layer on those onions, that juicy meat, a tomato slice or a couple pickled pepper rings, a bit of a frilly lettuce cap, and the toasty top bun.
The little bit of extra work grilling the onions and buns really makes these lamb burgers special.
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Kitchen Frau Notes: You can of course, substitute the ground lamb with ground beef if you wish, for juicy Rosemary Beef Burgers.
If you're making these Lamb Burgers on a barbecue grill, you can be grilling the meat, onions, and buns all at the same time if you have space. (Use a grill pan or piece of tin foil poked all over with a fork to keep the onion layers from coming apart and falling into the grill.
(*The buns used in these photos are Udi's Gluten Free Whole Grain Hamburger Buns.)
for the sweet potato wedges:
- 4 small sweet potatoes, about 8 oz/250gms each (or 2 lbs/1kg large sweet potatoes)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
for the lamb burgers:
- 1 lb. (454gms) ground lamb
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 tablespoons quick oats or breadcrumbs (gluten free if necessary)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- olive oil or ghee for greasing the pan
- 1 large red onion
- drizzle of balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze
- 4 hamburger buns (gluten free if necessary)
- 4 tablespoons hummus
- 4 slices tomato or a handful of pickled hot pepper slices
- 4 lettuce leaves
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
Start the sweet potato wedges:
Cut each sweet potato into 8 lengthwise wedges, leaving the peel on. If you only have larger sweet potatoes, cut them into similarly sized wedges. Put them into a large bowl and drizzle them with the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Toss well to coat with the oil. Sprinkle on the salt, pepper, and cumin, then toss again until the seasonings are evenly distributed. Lay the sweet potato wedges out in a single layer on a baking sheet large enough to hold them in a single layer. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, turning them once during the roasting time, until they are blistered and brown in spots, and tender when pricked with a fork.
While the sweet potatoes are roasting, make the lamb burgers:
Place the ground lamb, egg yolk, oats or breadcrumbs, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, salt, and pepper into a bowl. Use your hands to mix the ingredients, then wash your hands. With clean, wet hands, shape the ground lamb mixture into four patties, each about 4 inches (10cm) wide.
Heat a grill pan or cast iron skillet on the stovetop or heat up a barbecue grill to medium high. If using a stovetop grill pan or skillet, brush it with oil or ghee; if using a barbecue grill, brush the lamb patties lightly with oil on each side. Cook the burgers for 2½ to 3 minutes a side, until they have light grill marks on each side and are still juicy and slightly pink on the inside. The time will depend on the heat of your grill or stove. Set the burgers aside to a plate and cover them with foil to rest while you prepare the other ingredients.
Slice the onion crosswise into four ½ inch (1cm) thick slices, discarding the top and bottom ends and saving them for another use. Lay the four slices onto a plate or cutting board, keeping the rings together in the slices. Brush the tops with olive oil, then carefully flip the slices into the hot skillet or into a grilling pan on the barbecue, oiled side down and keeping the rings intact. Brush more oil onto the tops of the slices and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Grill them for 1 to 2 minutes, until there are grill marks on the rings. Then use a metal spatula and flip them carefully, again trying to keep all the rings intact so the slices stays together. If the onion rings come apart while flipping them, try to fit the rings back into place. Grill them for 1 to 2 minutes on the second side, then carefully slide the grilled onion slices onto a plate. Drizzle them with balsamic vinegar or glaze.
Now brush the grill pan or skillet with oil (or lightly brush the surfaces of the cut hamburger buns with oil if using a barbecue for grilling) and place the tops and bottoms of the hamburger buns, cut side down, on the grill pan or grill. Grill them until they are toasted and have good grill marks on them. Remove them to serving plates.
To assemble the burgers:
Spread a tablespoon of hummus onto the bottom half of each bun and a thin layer of mayonnaise or more hummus onto the top half of each bun. Use a spatula to carefully transfer a grilled onion slice on top of the hummus on each bun bottom. Add a lamb burger patty on top of each onion slice. Top with a tomato slice or several rings of pickled peppers, then a lettuce leaf, then top each one with the hamburger bun top.
Serve the lamb burgers with the sweet potato wedges.
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