I’m participating in #BurgerMonth and every day of the month of August there will be a new creation unleashed from a group of 31 bloggers; one per day, all of them a new recipe for our favorite summertime food…BURGERS! Credit for this effort has to go to Kita Roberts of Girl Carnivore; so thanks Kita for all of your hard work pulling this together.
When I first decided to participate there is no question that my head was still thinking about what has become my favorite burger, the Canyon Creek Burger that I re-created after a visit to Ted’s Montana Grill. It had the unexpected ingredient of blackberry jam that was fantastic but maybe what inspired me most about that burger was the lack of lettuce and tomato; it proved they really are not required.
I played with ideas in my head but to be honest, there was something larger than me working on this project. I had received ingredients from different sources that seemed prophetically destined that they be pulled together and I was simply game to go along.
First, while anticipating a beef burger because that’s my standard fare, that changed quickly after I was the lucky recipient of a prize package from the American Lamb Board when I participated in voting for what I thought was the best recipe from a variety of contributors. A prize for voting? Cool! While happy to have a new pizza stone and a cool apron that I know I’ll never wear, the best part of that win was 5 pounds of local ground lamb meat. How could I not switch gears to a lamb burger right?
More of my inspiration? I had been sent samples of the most amazing cheese; one a double creme and one that is goats milk. Fromager D’Affinois hails from France’s southern Rhône-Alpes region and is similar to brie in appearance and flavor with a soft texture and an ultra creamy texture. I decided that the goat cheese would be perfect with lamb and all I had left to do was formulate a plan for what else to include that would work well with these two exceptional ingredients.
Hmm, how about a red wine barbecue sauce?I had received a couple of bottles of Woodbridge Wines ‘Wine ‘Cue Sauce’ and sadly had used up the majority of it when making a barbecue chicken pizza with bacon. So I punted and decided to make a sauce for these burgers using both the wine and the sauce. Guess I was saving it for something special and this was it!
I also asked the rep that I had been working with if she could send add some of this sauce to the prize packages for #BurgerMonth and it was a yes! So be sure to enter to win; there are some great prizes and two of them are (5) bottle packages of what is now my favorite barbecue sauce. When I shared my plans with her she sent me a recipe from celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli who had created several recipes incorporating the sauce for it’s official debut at her restaurant Butter in NYC. Is it just me but I can’t help but think she should have named it Buttah? Anyway, I took her sauce for oven-baked chicken wings and modified it a bit for my lamb burgers. Truth? I didn’t modify it until after I made it. WOW was that a lot of sherry vinegar Alex! So I had to double most of the ingredients to tame the vinegar and add a bit more sweetness; there is something about lamb that just handles that well. I’ve never tried the ubiquitous mint jelly as a side but one of my favorite lamb dishes has a honey dressing and I know how well that balances the gamey quality lamb can have.
OK, so I’ve got my lamb, my sauce and my cheese. Sounds good right but something else was needed. I thought maybe some grilled onions would be nice; another savory and sweet combo that would be a nice balance but then I decided that would be way too easy and opted instead to make fried onion strings. Some sweet onions dipped in a buttermilk batter and quickly fried that are well, amazing. My daughter and I first made them when we decided to make a homemade version of the classic Thanksgiving dish of Green Bean Casserole. They are addictive and I was lucky I had enough left for the burgers after I kept
snacking testing the results so often! The recipe for the Onion Strings are from The Pioneer Woman website so just click over there for Ree’s recipe or if you’re in a pinch? Go on, grill some onions; I know they would be fabulous too.
I searched for the perfect bun which did not seem to exist but in the long run that turned out fine, these pretzels rolls that I already had were part of the destiny. The burgers are a bit rich and decadent so I made them on the smaller side; about 5.5 ounces each; just the perfect size for the rolls (Costco).
Altogether? Everything I had hoped for. The lamb shone, the sauce was amazing, the cheese gave it that great tang and the sweetness and crunch of the onion strings was the perfect touch. I made 6 burgers and I’ve had two already. Really…somebody stop me!
Don’t forget it’s #BurgerMonth; check out more below on how to enter for prizes and join me and 30 of my pals for great burgers all month long. Tomorrow’s specialty is the Queso Fundido Burger from Aly at Cooking in Stillettos.
See you at the grill!
For the Cabernet Sauce
- 2 cups Cabernet Sauvignon
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp Molasses
- 3 tablespoons Woodbridge Wine 'Cue Sauce (sub any good bbq sauce if necessary)
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 1 Tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 scallions, white and green parts both, cut into thin rounds
For the Burgers
- 2 lb ground lamb
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 4 Tbsp Cabernet Barbecue Sauce
To Finish the Burgers
- 4 oz Goat cheese, thinly sliced or crumbled
- 6 rolls (I used Pretzel rolls from Costco)
- Olive Oil
- Pioneer Woman Onion Strings
To Make the Sauce:
- Make the honey glaze:
- In a large skillet, reduce the Cabernet Sauvignon over medium heat until there is only about 1/4 cup liquid. Pour the wine into a medium bowl to cool.
- In the same skillet, bring the honey, garlic, brown sugar, molasses and Woodbridge Wine ‘Cue Sauce to a simmer.
- When it starts to foam, cook for a minute or too and then remove the skillet from the heat and pour in the sherry vinegar. Return the skillet to the heat and allow it to simmer until it becomes like a light glaze, 12-15 minutes. Stir in the black pepper and scallions and add the red wine reduction. Whisk to blend. Taste for seasoning.
To Make the Burgers:
- Blend together the lamb, salt, pepper and 4 Tablespoons of the Cabernet Barbecue Sauce; form into 6 patties.
- Grill patties until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees; 4-5 minutes per side on medium heat. Remove from heat; slather both sides with sauce and add goat cheese to top of burgers and cover with a skillet or pan to retain heat and let cheese soften.
- Let the meat rest until internal temperature is160 degrees.
- Brush the rolls with olive oil and grill briefly just to crisp inside a bit; about 1 minute.
- Remove rolls from grill, slather with a bit of sauce, layer the burger with the onion strings and serve with additional sauce on the side.
Prep time does not include making the onion strings; if you use them add an additional 25 minutes to the time required.
A huge thanks to all of the creative bloggers who were just as inspired by a month of burgers as I was and the awesome companies that have donated prizes to #BurgerMonth including Char-Broil, Cabot Cheese, Le Creuset, Dreamfarm, Spiceologist & Woodbridge Wines.