Juicy, flavoursome and homemade
In the final part of his online summer series, Joseph Beaumont revisits some of his favourite recipes and provides hints and tips plus suggestions for the odd tipple to make them even more enjoyable.
Everyone loves burgers, and naturally we're talking about the ones you make at home. Juicy and flavoursome, they're just the ticket for an easy meal in the garden on a summer's evening.
Lamburgers, a recent addition to the culinary scene, are made possible of course by the advent of readily available lamb mince. (I can still remember my mother feeding lamb cuts and scraps into the mouth of a hand mincer clamped to the bench. Alas, because she trimmed off all the fat, the resulting burgers were dry.)
Choose mince with some fat in it - about 20 per cent is ideal. Forget the usual additions of egg and breadcrumbs, and juiciness plus the full flavour of the lamb will be yours.
Today's recipe has a subtle spicy kick plus a gentle crunch from the (optional) pine nuts, which are truly delicious with any form of minced lamb.
Serve in a toasted burger bun or split Turkish bread with the trimmings of your choice. I like to keep it simple, with sliced tomato, shredded lettuce and a dollop of hummus or minty-lemony yoghurt on top.
*To barbecue, remove patties from fridge, brush with oil and grill over a low-medium flame for about 6 minutes a side.
*If you're worried about fat, place patties between paper towels before serving.
*This burger mix also makes delicious meatballs. Divide mixture into 10-12 portions, form into balls, then roll lightly in flour. Cook in a pan, shaking the pan to turn the meatballs, for about 8 minutes or until golden-brown.
Heavy reds such as shiraz and cabernet sauvignon do not suit summer drinking. But when charred bits of lamb come into play, red fans might settle for a lighter drop, such as pinot noir or a merlot.
A full-bodied rosé, pinots grigio or riesling will also fit the bill.
*600g lamb mince
*2 tsp ground cumin
* 1/2 tsp ground coriander
*1 Tbsp finely chopped mint
*1Tbsp lightly toasted pine nuts (optional)
*salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
*2 Tbsp olive oil
*Mix all ingredients, except oil, in a bowl. Divide mixture into 4 portions.
*With dampened hands, shape each portion into a flattish pattie, making sure edges are firm.
*If making ahead of time, place patties on a large plate, cover with cling film and refrigerate.
*Heat oil in a non-stick pan over a medium heat and fry patties, turning once, until golden-brown. Depending on thickness, this will take about 6 minutes each side.
*This burger mix also makes meatballs. Divide mixture into 10-12 portions, form into balls or small sausages, then roll in flour. Cook in a pan, as above, shaking the pan to turn the meatballs, for about 6-8 mins or until golden-brown. Serve in hot pitta pockets with hummus or minty yoghurt and salad.
The Southland Times