Lamb Burgers

So how has everyone’s ‘Summer’s’ been so far? Yes the perhaps one day of the week when the sun breaks through the clouds and the Irish grab the beers and barbecues.  We have been having a lot of barbecues, not just the epic weekend barbecues but also the quick middle of the week grilling of pork chops over open coal.  Recently our gas BBQ succumbed to a terrible fate – it went on fire after a particularly strenuous grilling session! Basically we had cooked so much on it that the next time it was turned on and the lid left down, it ignited!  A replacement cheap charcoal barbecue has been purchased in the meantime to ensure there is no gap in barbecuing activities.  With this in mind let me tell you about a competition I entered last week.  Bord Bia and the Ray D’Arcy show were looking for people to come up with a summer lamb burger recipe – I accepted the challenge with relish (ahem) 

While out walking I came up with this recipe.  I used the warming spices of cumin and coriander seed in the burger with caramelised red onions.  I was also inspired by my garden which is providing me at the moment with an abundance of fresh herbs.  I went for coriander in the tomato salsa and lots of fresh mint in a tzatziki.  All this was served on a seeded pitta, I thought for summer it might be lighter and while on the health buzz I chose to serve it with a quinoa salad jewelled with pomegranate seeds and more fresh herbs.  I’m loving quinoa at the moment it has been a recent discovery of mine and excellent in summer salads.  And I know that it is my recipe and maybe I’m not supposed to say this as it would be considered gloating but it really was delicious! One of my finer kitchen moments, you really should try and make this!

And so the day came to announce the four finalists for the competition, I remained phone at the ready waiting for the call – of course I was going to get the call… I waited and waited, then waited some more..sadly my burger didn’t get picked and I’m not bitter about this in the slightest…But honestly the four finalists and eventual winner had fantastic recipes that I will be trying myself.  I realise that the competition was by Bord Bia to promote lamb in the summer months and it has worked the trick on me, I never really would have used lamb in burger recipes but it provides such a distinct taste that really absorbs any flavours that you add to it that I will certainly be trying it again.  But now I’m off to check my email…obviously its broken, sure that’s the reason why I wasn’t chosen, they didn’t get my email…!

For the burgers:
1 pack of lamb mince
2 red onion, cooked with balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and butter
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
Lamb burgers on a temporary bucket barbecue!
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp oregano
1 egg
salt and pepper

For the tzatziki
Natural yoghurt
Juice of half a lemon
1 clove of garlic minced
½  pack of Feta cheese crumbled
Handful of fresh mint, chopped
½ a cucumber, grated

For the salsa
1/2 a green chilli, finely diced
3 large tomatoes, de-seeded and diced
1 red onion diced
Handful of coriander, chopped
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Toast the cumin seeds and coriander seeds on a dry pan, add to a pestle and mortar and grind to a dry powder
Add this to the mince, along with a beaten egg, the cinnamon, turmeric, caramelised onions, oregano and salt and pepper
Mix with your hands and shape into 4 burgers
For the tzatziki combine all ingredients and season to taste, do the same with the salsa
Cook the lamb burgers on a BBQ for ten minutes
To assemble place some of the tzatziki on the bottom of a toasted pitta bread, add the burger and top with the salsa.
Serve with the quinoa and pomegranate salad

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