Posts Tagged lamb
There are a million variations of the gyro (also called doner kebab or shawarma). The word gyro technically refers to the spit-cooked meat that’s used as a filling. At their essence, all these dishes are basically a pita or flatbread stuffed with meat, vegetables, and sauce.
I used my leftover cucumber cream cheese dip as the sauce. I put out a plate of tomato and shredded lettuce and let my family assemble their pitas to their own taste.
For the meat, I bought a leg of lamb and cut it into strips. I fed these into my grinder with the fine grind plate in place and set the meat aside.
Next, I assembled my lamb seasonings.
I used about 2 tsp of garlic and black pepper from one of those little grinder bottles, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp of marjoram, and 2 tsp of cumin. I also used fresh rosemary, Greek oregano, and mint, as well as 3/4 cup of chopped onion.
After mincing the herbs, I mixed all these ingredients into the ground lamb and then fed it back through the grinder. Lamb holds together better the more you knead it, so grinding it twice not only incorporated the seasonings but also helped it stay fairly solid after cooking.
I heated my oven to 400° and pressed the lamb mixture into a 10″ square baking dish. This cooked for about 15 minutes. I poured off the excess liquid (mostly rendered fat) and sliced the meat into 1/2″x1″ pieces. I put about three of these in each of my pita pockets, and it was perfect.
One piece of advice: buy thick pita or flatbread. The pita I bought was too thin and tended to fall apart when picked up. I wound up finishing my gyros with a fork, and that kind of defeats the purpose.
Lamb and mutton are a staple food in many parts of Ireland, and at this time of year lamb is abundantly available in many parts of the US. These little bite-sized hors d’oeuvres are a very simple to make, look rather impressive, and taste delicious.
To make these, you’ll need:
- 1 lb thick-sliced bacon
- 1 – 1.5 lbs lamb (I used a butterflied leg)
- Toothpicks or small skewers
- 1 bottle Guinness Extra Stout (or other dark beer)
Cut your lamb into 1″x2″ strips. Fold each strip in half and wrap it in a full slice of bacon, then secure with a toothpick or skewer.
Heat your oven to 375°. Place the lamb bites in a baking dish and pour in the beer. It should cover the meat about halfway.
Bake for 15 minutes, then flip the pieces over and place back in the oven. Give the lamb another 15-20 minutes. The Guinness will start to evaporate away and the bacon will brown but not totally crisp. If you want more crispness, sear the bacon quickly on all sides in a hot pan before serving.
In years previous, I’ve served these with a variety of dipping sauces. The most successful was a reduction of Guinness, brown sugar, and cayenne pepper that had a nice kick to it.
Still to come:
- Cream delight
- Mushrooms stuffed with root vegetables
- Cheese plate
- Individual shepherd’s pies
Just what it says – lamb hamburgers.
My fellas aren’t super picky eaters, but they are particular about certain things. Lamb is a meat that they wouldn’t outright complain about, but it was obvious to me it wasn’t a favorite either. I understood completely; it took me years to get a taste for the flavor of lamb, and even I will turn my nose up when faced with a particularly gamy lamb dish. Lamb has what I would describe as a slightly acrid, even metallic flavor, and depending on the cut and the preparation it can be pretty sharp tasting. Lamb is a favorite in many cultures, though, and I knew I could make it work for my boys.
These lamburgers (I know, I’m so clever) are generously flavored with garlic and herbs, served on delicious kimmelweck rolls, and dressed with my favorite goat cheese spread. You’re not masking the flavor of the lamb, but complementing it.
(The fries were Wegmans brand, bought frozen and heated up in the oven. Nothing fancy.)
Here’s your shopping list:
- Approx. 1/3 lb ground lamb per person
- 1/2 medium bulb of garlic (for 3 burgers, scale up as necessary)
- Fresh herbs: rosemary, parsley, oregano, and mint.
- Cracked black pepper (about 1 tsp went into mine)
- Coarse salt
- Approx. 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 oz chèvre (soft goat cheese)
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Kaiser rolls or hamburger buns (I used kimmelweck rolls, which have coarse salt and caraway seeds on them)
I gathered most of the herbs from my garden (I had to buy the mint – my mint plants are still dormant) and I didn’t measure the amounts, so here’s a pre-cut picture to show you the relative quantities:
Remove any stems from the mint and strip the rosemary off the twig. Mince everything. If you would like everything to blend completely into the meat, I recommend pulsing them in the food processor until you get a paste. I wanted big noticeable pieces of garlic and herbs, so I cut mine by hand and wasn’t too particular about size.
Mix the garlic, herbs, and black pepper into the meat thoroughly. I used my hands – I’ve tried numerous tools for this, and gloved hands simply work best.
Divide the meat into however many 1/3-lb sections you need. I used my kitchen scale for precision, but if you want to eyeball roughly equal chunks, I won’t tell. Form a patty slightly larger than the circumference of your bun (the burgers shrink a bit during cooking).
Here’s what the patties looked like:
See how big the garlic and herbs are?
Sprinkle both sides of each patty with a pinch of coarse salt.
Pour the olive oil into a cold pan and place the patties in. I recommend flipping them over before you even start cooking, to make sure both sides get oil. Lamb is extremely lean, and the olive oil will help keep it from drying out (and sticking to the pan). It also helps encourage surface browning (which = flavor!). Plus I just think the flavor of olive oil works well with the other flavors you have here.
Set your burner to medium-high heat and let it go until it’s pretty darn hot (so scientific, I know…) and the first side of the burger has browned nicely. Then, flip your burgers. If possible, flip the burgers onto a different part of the pan from where they were before – the metal where the patty was sitting is cooler than the metal around it. Physics!
Let the burgers go at this temperature for 1 min and then turn the heat down to med-low.
I’ve seen lots of methods for burgers cooked in a pan, but this one has always worked best for me. It results in a nice sear on both sides of the burger, and the patties get cooked completely through without drying out.
While your burgers are cooking, you’ve got time to make your goat cheese spread. It’s really easy to make, and really well worth it. I used a middle grade of balsamic vinegar – don’t spend a lot of money on the really fancy stuff, which is honestly best just drizzled over stuff, or, well, sipped straight from the bottle, because it’s amazing…but I also wouldn’t recommend the really cheap stuff either. It’s just too acidic, and the chèvre has enough sharpness already. If you can’t get a sweeter balsamic, I might suggest adding a little dollop of honey or a little bit of sugar to balance the spread out.
To make the cheese spread, I simply crumble the goat cheese in a bowl and drizzle the vinegar over it, and then stir it vigorously until it’s all mixed up. It starts out a little stiff, but eventually it will end up with a smooth consistency that’s easy to stir (and spread on stuff!).
It’s also not particularly photogenic.
I don’t know why it looks so pink and weird here, it’s definitely a very soft beige in real life.
Spread a thin layer on the inside of your buns, top and bottom. Lift your patties up with a slotted spatula and let the excess oil drip off for a moment, then place them on your bun. That’s all that went on these burgers – I would almost say you shouldn’t add lettuce or tomato or anything, I feel like it would just interfere.
I served these with the seasoned curly fries pictured above and a mixed greens salad.
Oh, and my non-lamb-loving fellas? Loved it.