Nov 12
Is a Burger — just a Burger?
posted by: dawn in Columns, Comfort Food, Easy Dinner, Lamb on 11 12th, 2009 | |

Apparently, if you are a teenager, yes.

Before Tyler (17) moved in with us he told me he wanted to cook his “special” burgers for Bill and I.  We had extensive conversations about how much he liked making burgers.  Being new to the stepmom thing and especially new to the teenage boy thing.  I decided to order the “Build a Better Burger” cookbook for him as a surprise.  I had it delivered to his mom’s house overnight.  I was excited we might be able to find some common ground.  5 days later when I asked if he received it, he said “Yeah, why did you send that to me?”  :SIGH:

I did not learn.  I wanted to, however sometimes I can be what I prefer to describe as “strong willed” or “enthusiastic” but my family calls “stubborn” and occasionally they use the very unkind phrase “hard-headed.”

When Tyler arrived he asked about making his “special” burgers for us every day.  Unfortunately his method required grilling and his arrival coincided with the brutal cycle of afternoon storms that are common for Central Florida in late summer.  Finally the day arrived.  We gathered the ingredients and started to work.  His recipe for a burger was ground beef with a salty store bought sauce, soy sauce, salt and stuffed with hoop cheese.  I’ve never seen a kid so excited, or tasted a burger so SALTY.  But to Ty, it was heaven on a plate so we smiled, praised him and ate ours.  Later I secretly threw out that awful sauce only to be caught.  “HEY!  Why’s my sauce in the garbage?” :SIGH:

Tyler’s dinner menu repertoire has done a 180 since he moved here.  He’s done well to adapt.  Now, he likes Brussels sprouts, he cheerfully consumed my attempt at Chicken Tiki Marsala (bad recipe, going to have to try that again), he ADORES my baked macaroni and cheese.  But much to my dismay, he insists on hating lamb.  I just discovered that I can cook lamb at home (as opposed to only being able to order it in a restaurant) .   I love lamb, I want to have it once or twice a week.  :SIGH:

What to do, what to do???

Hide it in a burger, that’s what.  And keep my opinions to myself when he slathers it with ketchup.  That’s what!

Last night I made lamb burgers and Tzatziki sauce with grilled eggplant.  You may notice the lack of photo.  That’s to protect you.  They were UGLY.  and I do mean UGLY.  But for every degree of ugly, there were two degrees of yummy as proved by the clean plate of a 17 year old self professed lamb hater.  Perhaps I can get him to eat the chop next time if I use the same spices.

Lamb burgers:
1 pound ground lamb
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 clove fresh garlic minced
3 turns fresh ground black pepper
healthy pinch of kosher salt

Mix the spices and meat together gently and then let it rest at room temperature for about a half hour.  Form into 3 patties and cook over medium high heat for 7 minutes or until done through.  Unlike beef, the lamb will not dry out if cooked to well done.  I used our Cuisinart indoor grill and it took about 7 minutes to cook.

For the eggplant I sliced it about a quarter inch thick, salted it and put it in a colander with a weight to remove the liquid.  Then I brushed it with olive oil and also put it on the Cuisinart indoor grill — hence the ugly factor.  I would suggest you either saute the eggplant in oil over high heat or use a real grill.  The Cuisanart didn’t get hot enough, the eggplant stuck, tore, steamed rather than grilled ….. you know the drill :SIGH:

Tzatziki Sauce
7 oz Greek yogurt
1 small cucumber seeded and grated
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp lemon juice

*note:  Tzatziki sauce traditionally includes mint which I have an aversion to so I omit it.  If you like it add 1 tsp dried mint.

After grating the cucumber spread it on paper towels and blot out all the moisture you can.  Otherwise your sauce will be watery.

Chuck everything into the food processor, give it a whirl, taste it and salt it.  Refrigerate for one hour before using.

I layered one slice eggplant, 1 slice roasted red pepper, one lamb patty, a dab of Tzatziki sauce and feta cheese on the burger.

MMMMM – no leftovers and I sort of wished I had cooked Tyler something different so we could have eaten his.  That’s the trouble with expanding kids pallets, then they want to eat your food!

So back to the question, is a Burger just a Burger?  No.  Burgers are more than the flavorless fatty meat puck that McDonald’s has purveyed for years.  Burgers are comfort; they are a bonding experience; and they can be a vehicle for introducing new flavors.  We still haven’t come clean and told Ty it was a lamb burger.  He knew something was up — but he was happy to eat it.

One Response to “Is a Burger — just a Burger?”

  1. Lamb burgers are my absolute favourites!!! Love this Greek spin!

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