Lamb burgers & thoughts on tahini & hummus

Lamb Burger

Lamb Burger

Sometimes I just have to have lamb. It’s the Armenian in me, I suppose, and when I realize I haven’t had it in a while I make a beeline to the market (preferably for organic or local lamb), or, on this evening, to my freezer, where I’d stashed a few lamb patties mixed with seasonings a couple months ago. This was the last one, so next time, I’ll use the ground lamb from Brick Farm Market I stashed in my freezer last weekend.

For the patty you see here, I mixed the lamb with minced shallot or onion (can’t remember which I had on hand), dry home made bread crumbs moistened with milk, mint (dried is best for this, trust me!), salt & pepper, and, since I needed to use it up, some crumbled feta.

I don’t usually put cheese in my burger patties, but in this case it worked out fine. And when my burger is made from buffalo, my home burger of choice, I don’t mix the meat with anything at all.

I formed the lamb into patties, wrapped them individually, and froze them. Perfect to pull out of the freezer in the morning to thaw in the fridge during the day for a work night dinner.

Sometimes I stuff it in a pita, but this time I enjoyed it with leftover roasted potatoes, hummus, a spoonful of labneh (thick, Middle Eastern yogurt), and a dollop of tahini.

A note about tahini:  To me, tahini is just pure ground sesame seeds. It separates and it’s a pain to scoop out of the tub when you want to use it. I usually buy it in tins at the market, maybe the Phoenician in New Brunswick. But to many others, tahini is the seed paste mixed with lemon, garlic, water, and salt. So this tahini, from Trader Joe’s, already mixed up with those ingredients, seemed like it would be handy to have on hand to make hummus at home (with canned chickpeas), because this way half the work would be done, right? I wouldn’t have to worry about the garlic and lemon, I could just spoon the prepared tahini into the processor with the chickpeas, and a dash of cumin and cayenne, and I’m there, except for the garnish of olive oil and maybe a little chopped parsley.

But then I read a reference to serving tahini with lamb or gyro meat in pita, something like that. Think of it as Middle Eastern mayonnaise. So I added a dollop of tahini to my plate. Although I found the tahini a little salty on its own, it was still okay since I barely salt my lamb burger.

A note about hummus, too: I do sometimes buy it prepared, but don’t like the way it is, to me, over-processed. It’s too smooth. But notice the rougher texture on the hummus here – thank you Whole Earth Center deli! Seems I may have read somewhere that, historically, a woman would be proud of achieving very smooth hummus, since it was done without the help of modern day appliances. Think mortar and pestle, maybe. But these days, with a food processor in every kitchen, we process things to death just because we can. Look how smooth I can make it!  Meh. (It’s like fonts on the computer, remember how crazy people went with those when they first became so easy to use?)

So I had an excellent lamb “fix,” and I know this burger would be great on the grill, too, so try that for a change when you have a chance.

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