Can "ewe" believe I did a lamb post title with no baaaaaaaaaad puns? Hey, I was afraid of getting lambasted! Okay, I'm done (he said, sheepishly).
I was recently contacted by the American Lamb Board, who are promoting their third annual “Get Your Grill On” video competition, to see if I would be interested in trying some lamb.
Never one to turn down free meat, I said sure! When the package arrived I was very happy to see I was the proud owner of one pound of all-natural, all-American, ground lamb.
Deciding what to make was easy. I love lamb burgers, and I've been daydreaming recently about a lamb burger based on the famous Greek casserole, Moussaka. For those of you that don't know, Moussaka is a stunning blend of spiced ground lamb, tomato, and eggplant, topped with a creamy, cheesy white sauce.
I decided to integrate the eggplant right into the burger itself, instead of topping the burger with cooked slices. I really liked the result, but I think most of you will enjoy it better if you use less eggplant than I did.
I started with about 3-4 cups of raw diced eggplant, and while the burgers held together nicely, the texture was very soft. I think 2 cups is probably just about perfect. As always, I encourage skepticism and experimentation.
The sauce seemed like a natural to use as a cheesy spread on the toasted buns, and I loved how the minted tomatoes pulled everything together. By the way, I don't always feel the need to put greens on a burger, and here it seemed like it would just get in the way. Besides, there's no lettuce in Moussaka. I really hope you give these great lamb burgers a try. Enjoy!
For more information on finding and using American Lamb, as well as learning more about the “Get Your Grill On” contest, check out the official website here. Thanks for the delicious meat!
For the lamb burgers:
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced fine
2 cups diced eggplant (remove skin first)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound ground lamb
For the sauce:
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cayenne
salt to taste
4 soft hamburger rolls, toasted
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon thinly sliced or chopped mint leaves