A juicy burger is hard to beat, the ultimate comfort food and a really indulgent treat. While we immediately think of beef when planning our next burger, from a flavour perspective rich lamb makes a near perfect patty and seriously decadent alternative to the burger norm.
With its distinct and rich flavour, lamb mince needs very few additions to create a crave-worthy patty, and this basic recipe is the foundation for the lamb burger of your dreams – simple, versatile and adaptable. Tasty Easy Lamb is the perfect resource for all things lamb related, from recipes to advice on cuts, so we’ve teamed up with them to bring you tips to create the ultimate lamb burger.
Lamb is delicious in itself, so you can keep things very simple with just the garlic and salt and pepper, but there is one cardinal rule which must be followed when it comes to adding salt to your burger patty.
DO NOT add salt to the lamb mince before shaping into burgers as this will result in a tight, sausage like texture by drawing out moisture. Once the patty is shaped, add salt and pepper to the surface before grilling or frying – you’ll thank me later.
If you want to inject a little spice or exotic flavour into your burger add in a finely chopped fresh herb like basil for Italian vibes, coriander if you’re going the Middle Eastern route or mint for Greek feels.
Lamb is so versatile it also lends itself well to the bold spicing of Indian cuisine, so add in ground cumin, coriander, garam masala or fenugreek to give your burger a flavour of the sub-continent.
Forget ham and cheese – lamb and cheese are firm friends and deserve to be enjoyed together. Feta and lamb are happy bedfellows indeed as the spike of saltiness from the crumbly sheep’s cheese heightens the inherent sweetness of lamb. Feta lends a Greek feel to lamb dishes and is perfect in a burger as it won’t melt and spill out – the perfect awkward eater’s burger cheese.
Keeping in the vein of sheep’s milk cheese, halloumi is a stellar addition to your lamb burger, popped on top of the patty whilst cooking to melt slightly. For a milder melting moment, mozzarella provides the delectable ooziness without competing with the meat’s own flavour.
I think burgers of the lamb variety may be the only instance where bacon is a bad idea. Lamb itself is so incredibly savoury, rich and more-ish, that adding bacon is a bridge too far for me. If you simply must have your bacon hit, Bacon Jam is sweet and salty with an umami hit that plays nicely with lamb.
Alternatively, sweet caramelised red onion jam is always a winner on a lamb burger and for a herby hit, whipping up a quick minty salsa verde with plenty of coriander and lip smacking lemon brings lamb to life.
Avocado’s creaminess is a pleasant addition to a lamb patty, either smashed guacamole style with lots of lime and garlic, or sliced thinly with a squeeze of lemon, delivering a little Mexican-style flavour hit.
Red onion, thinly shaved on a mandolin or sliced fine and steeped in lime juice is the perfect quick pickle and is juicy lamb’s best friend, especially if there’s feta involved. You could also roast some red onions, along with aubergines, courgettes and peppers to up the veggie ante in your burger.
The perfect lamb burger deserves to be sandwiched between something equally as accomplished, so don’t scrimp on the book ends of your lamb story. For an indulgent burger, go brioche or go home on the bun front.
For a Greek inspired burger, toasted pitta breads also work to create a gyro-style handheld treat. Crumble your cooked burger on a Middle Eastern flatbread for a Labeanese/Turkish lamb treat – a pizza burger hybrid that feels like a holiday in a bite.
If you’re a paleo devotee or keeping things light by dodging starchy carbs, portabella mushrooms and aubergine sliced into thick rounds make great faux-buns, grilled or roasted to soften while maintaining structure, so your burger doesn’t become a soggy catastrophe requiring cutlery.
Makes 4 Burgers
– 400g minced lamb
– A handful of basil, roughly chopped (optional)
– 1 clove of garlic, chopped
– Salt and pepper
– 2 tsp black olives, finely chopped(optional)
1. Place the lamb in a bowl, add the basil, garlic and olives and mix well – add in any chopped herbs or spices from above at this point.
2. Divide the mixture into 4 and shape into flat burgers and season with salt and pepper.
3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, quickly brown the burgers on one side. Turn them over and place a slice of mozzarella on top of each burger. Leave to cook for 2 more minutes.
4. Place your burger in your vessel of choice and get creative with our topping and cheese suggestions!
Growing up with the name Darina, I was constantly asked if I could cook like my namesake. With that(and greed) as the ultimate motivator, I realised that baked goods make excellent bribes and an obsession was born! I am the only person to have contested both Masterchef and the Great Irish Bake off, fuelling my desire to focus on food in a serious way. Working with TheTaste allows me to satisfy this craving and marries my food fascination with my love of writing and ranting.
This recipe was created for the ‘Lamb – Tasty, Easy, Fun Campaign’, a new campaign launched in association with Bord Bia with co-funding from the EU. Visit www.tastyeasylamb.ie a tasty and fun destination for all things lamb.