Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Simple Dinners 06 / Lamb Burgers Our Way and Homemade Burger Buns

lamb burger (our way)

With cooking, as with most things in life, I think it's important to push the boundaries of your comfort zone.

It's one of the aspects of food blogging that I love the most, and one of the main reasons I started in the first place. I love coming up with recipe ideas, but I especially love trying new cooking and baking techniques and ingredients. It's crazy to think that when I started my blog I had never cooked with yeast before and only had a handful of recipes that I could actually cook!

I have been wanting to try making burger buns from scratch for a while, and now that the weather is warming up and BBQ season is upon us, it seemed like the perfect time. It's probably not something you'd attempt on a busy weeknight due to all the rising time required, but I do recommend trying it at least once. I used a lightened up brioche recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

homemade burger buns

The dough was a dream to work with, and made a great foundation for an amazing, sky high hamburger. Not as sweet and rich as a regular brioche, but slightly more robust and definitely more delicious than the bread rolls we had previously been buying.

When I was a kid, we would occasionally get hamburgers from the milk bar up the road. But these days proper milk bars are rare, and when our local shut up shop, we tried making our own burgers and haven't looked back. My Mum cooks up a pretty fantastic burger.

As for the burgers themselves, well, there are a million different ways to make a burger, but this is how we do it. The patties are made from lamb mince, and the burgers are topped with lettuce, tomato, beetroot (it's un-Australian to eat a hamburger without beetroot, I'm told), cheese, eggplant, bacon, grilled onions, tomato sauce (ketchup) and mustard. Quite a delicious mouthful!

lamb burger (our way)

Here are a couple of ways you could mix it up...

  • Try different meat in the patties. Of course beef is always good, but you could also try a combination of pork and veal, or even chicken or turkey. 
  • Mix up your toppings - use your favourite salad ingredients.
  • Try making your own pickles or relish like they do at Rockpool Bar & Grill
  • To make it a vegetarian meal, grill a large slice of haloumi instead of the lamb patty
  • Top the buns with poppy seeds or black sesame seeds for a lovely colour contrast
  • Make the buns and patties miniature size for homemade sliders. Perfect for entertaining!
  • These buns would also be delicious with homemade pulled pork and coleslaw

lamb burger (our way)


Light Brioche Burger Buns
Makes 8
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

  • 3 tablespoons warm milk
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

In a glass measuring cup, combine one cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. Meanwhile, beat one egg.

In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Scrape dough onto clean, well-floured counter and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. You can also use a stand mixer with a dough hook if you have one. The dough will be on the sticky side so it can be a bit messy, but keep in mind that the more flour you knead in, the tougher the buns will get. Try to leave them tackier than you would a round loaf.

Shape dough into a ball and return it to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, one to two hours. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange two to three inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap lightly coated in nonstick spray and let buns rise in a warm place for one to two hours.

Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. Beat remaining egg with one tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Lamb Burgers Our Way
Serves 5

  • 500g lamb mince
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt & pepper
  • Fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Sourdough breadcrumbs
To top the burgers, these are the toppings we like, feel free to use your favourites
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • Eggplant, thinly sliced
  • Bacon
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • Beetroot slices
  • Lettuce leaves or baby spinach
  • Tomato sauce (ketchup) and mild mustard

To make the patties, mix mince, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and parsley together in a bowl with your hands. Add enough breadcrumbs until the mixture holds together. Form five even palm-size balls from the mixture. 

Heat a BBQ grill or large frypan. Fry lamb patties, onion slices, eggplant and bacon until cooked. When patties are almost cooked, place cheese slices on top to melt. 

Slice burger buns in half. Top the bottom half with lettuce, tomato and beetroot slices. Then top with lamb patty, eggplant, bacon, onions and sauce. Serve immediately.

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