Friday, October 5, 2007

Eating In: Herby lamb burgers with goat cheese

When we lived in Jackson, our local farmers market had a stand that sold fresh lamb and local meats. One Saturday I got to talking with the guy who owned the farm and he told me he sold whole lambs. As in, we could buy an entire, dressed Idaho lamb from this guy.

I was really excited. I absolutely love lamb. We had dinner recently with our friends Tim and Tami, and they told us that Tim's parents always make lamb when they're having a big "special" dinner. And Ed and I looked at each other and kind of laughed. We do that too.

baah! I'm cute and tasty too

So it took about five minutes for us to decide we really really wanted to buy a lamb. We called our friend Rob to see if he'd want to split it with us, and a few months later the lamb farmer personally delivered our lamb. Move over elk meat: There's local lamb coming in to share the freezer.

That meat is long gone now, so imagine our happy, surprised faces when my parents came over last week with several cuts of their own locally raised lamb meat to share with us. They'd bought a lamb at auction in Ellensburg and, knowing how much we love lamb meat, decided they'd bring us some. Nice! That's the long story of how we ended up making totally awesome lamb burgers last night.

We started with about a pound of beautiful pink, fatty ground lamb, added some herbs, garlic and away we went. Recipe's below.

Herby Lamb Burgers with Goat Cheese and Fried Onions
1lb ground lamb
1 T minced garlic
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tps kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
3oz fresh goat cheese, more or less (this is really about how much you like goat cheese)
1 large red or yellow onion, peeled and sliced 1/2" thick
olive oil
4 slices of artisinal bread, cut 3/4" thick and drizzled with olive oil, or use buns of your liking (brioche would be great too)

Start charcoal grill (yes, a gas grill will work, but the charcoal makes these much much much tastier).

Mix lamb with garlic, herbs and seasonings in bowl. Pat into burgers about 3/4" thick, making the middles slightly thinner than the outsides by pressing with your thumb (this allows for more even cooking).

Heat one teaspoon of oil in a 10" frying pan over medium-high heat til shimmering. Add onion and sautee, allowing the onion to caramelize, for about 3 minutes. Once some browning is occuring, salt the onions. Continue cooking until onions are medium-tender and golden, about 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.

While onions are cooking, grill bread and burgers.

Remove bread when it's slightly charred in places and nicely toasted. Grill burgers with the lid on for 2-3 minutes on first side, 1-2 minutes on second side, or until desired doneness.

Place burgers directly onto grilled bread slices (to catch the juices), top with goat cheese and then pile onions on top.

We had ours with the last of our corn, also grilled, and a green salad. Oh, and some tater tots! Um, you know, cuz we have a kid.

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