As I write this, it’s a cold January day in Dublin. Not the time to be thinking of the barbecue (or of salads). We need to hunker down for a few more months of stews, curries and roasts. However, I have a broader vision than most. I know that while we are suffering in the gloom of short, dark days here in Ireland, my friends in Australia and New Zealand are enjoying a warm (too warm, I hear), long summer. So, while we may be suffering a gloomfest, the guys and gals on the bottom half of the world need this simple, tasty recipe for Lamb Burgers with Cumin.
Lamb and Cumin go together spectacularly well. During last summer in Ireland (we get two weeks of summer in May, followed by fourteen weeks of grey cloud cover and broken dreams), I cooked a number of different burger recipes. The season passed (very quickly) and I decided to hang on to this recipe for this year. Chatting with Sandra, Eha, Wes and Kate (some of my Australian friends) made me think of putting the recipe out when they can use some of their Australian lamb when the barbie is hot and the skies clear.
- 1 kilo of lamb pieces (neck is best)
- 2 teaspoons of smoked (or unsmoked) salt
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
- 3 teaspoons of honey
Side note on good lamb burgers: When I am making burgers, I like to grind my own meat (That sounds vaguely rude but you know exactly what I mean). Lamb fat can be a bit off-putting for some people. In this recipe, the honey takes the place of the fat. There is little logic, but it works. I also serve the burgers with a mint yoghurt that brings some complementary flavour and balance.
Dry fry the cumin seeds until they are a nice deep brown but not burned. Grind them to a powder in a mortar.
Grind the meat and mix it with the other ingredients, reserving enough cumin for dusting (see below).
Form it into patties (I hate that word). Dust the patties with some of the cumin powder. Let them rest for a while in a cool place.
If you are in Australia: Barbecue the burgers while staying in the shade and enjoying a tinnie or a box of Shiraz.
If you are in Ireland: Cook on a hot griddle pan, staying close to the stove for warmth.
Serve with buns or ciabatta bread, some salad and that mint yoghurt I mentioned earlier. Make it by chopping up some mint leaves and mixing them into some natural yoghurt.
Enjoy it outdoors, (Oz and all points south) or indoors, by a roaring fire, (Ireland and all points north).
The dusting of cumin really does add a lovely flavour hit that is delicious with the burgers. Please don’t over-cook them. If you start with good quality meat, wash your hands regularly, grind your own meat and treat it right, everything should be safe. I enjoy my lamb on the rare side. I enjoy my lamb burgers rare too.