lamb burgers with herbed yogurt sauce

Serves: 6

Prep Time: 30 minutes + 1 to 2 hours marinating time | Cook Time: 45 minutes

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lamb burgers

photograph used with permission, Chronicle Books

I know I said last time that my only change this year was eating more vegetables, but then I had lunch with my friend Amanda Haas and we talked about her new cookbook and how everything you eat can affect the level of inflammation in your body. As I munched away on juicy, grass-fed lamb burgers, she explained how much relief she got from her chronic pain when she altered her diet in simple, clean ways like eating more vegetables and grass-fed meat. She researched the science and created The Anti-Inflammation Cookbook: The Delicious Way to Reduce Inflammation and Stay Healthy, full of recipes that really do make you feel better. How do I know? I made her lamb burgers and veggie-filled lentil salad. There are inflammation-fighting herbs and spices and low-glycemic carbs and no refined flours or weird ingredients in these or any of the recipes in her book. Everything tastes great because the ingredients are smart choices, not sad diet foods But the real proof was this: after I ate, my blood sugar didn’t skyrocket. I know this because I am a Type 1 diabetic, which is an autoimmune disease, and I am a canary in a coal mine for inflammatory foods. Not that you have to have a condition like mine to use this book. You just have to want great food that also happens to be good for you. Keep your ears open: anti-inflammatory is going to be the health story of the year.

ingredients

Pickled Onions
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
6 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp raw cane sugar {I used turbinado or you can use regular sugar}

Herbed Yogurt Sauce
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp finely chopped mixed herbs such as dill, parsley, and mint

Burgers
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 lb ground lamb, preferably grass-fed
8 oz ground pork
3 Tbsp finely chopped mint
2 Tbsp finely chopped dill
3 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Mixed greens with French Vinaigrette, if desired (see below)

directions

To make the pickled onions: Place the onion, lime juice, salt, and sugar in a small bowl. Stir to combine, cover, and let sit at room temperature for about 2 hours to soften {I let mine sit for one hour and they were fine}. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the herbed yogurt sauce: In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, herbs, and 1/2 tsp salt. Adjust the salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, or for up to 2 days.

To make the lamb burgers:  In a small skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a small plate to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

In a large bowl, combine the lamb, pork, mint, dill, parsley, garlic, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, and cooled onions. Gently mix with your hands. Do not overwork the meat. Divide the mixture into six equal balls. Press into patties and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. (If not cooking immediately, cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.)

Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Working in batches, sear the burgers until well browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare, or about 5 minutes per side for well-done. Alternatively, prepare a grill for cooking over medium-high heat. Lightly grease the grill grate. Place the burgers on the grill, and cook, turning once, to reach desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare, or about 5 minutes per side for well-done. Set burgers on a plate and let rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile toss a few handfuls of greens with vinaigrette as needed. Put burgers on plates with greens, a spoonful or two of yogurt sauce, and a scattering of pickled onions.

French Vinaigrette
Makes 3/4 cup

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp minced shallot
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Place the mustard and shallot in a small bowl; whisk in the vinegar. Add a generous pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper. Let sit for 5 minutes to soften the shallots then whisk in the olive oil until the mixture is emulsified. Store in a closed glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Shake jar to blend again before using.

French Lentil Salad

2 cups cauliflower florets [I used an entire small head]
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
1 tsp lemon juice or to taste
1 1/2 cups French green lentils
1 qt water or vegetable broth
French Vinaigrette (see above)
1 small carrot, peeled and diced
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes*
1/2 cup dried cherries
2 Tbsp chopped mint
1 Tbsp chopped chives
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Use the convection setting if available.

Place the cauliflower in a large bowl. Coat with the olive oil and season with a generous pinch of salt; add the fennel seeds (if using). Stir in the lemon juice. Spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir, then roast until the cauliflower has caramelized and is just cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes.

Sort through lentils to remove any small stones or misshapen pieces.Transfer lentils to a strainer and rinse. Place lentils in a pot along with the water or broth. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer partially covered until lentils are just cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. They should be tender but have the slightest bite. Drain the excess water.

Place the warm lentils in a large bowl and toss with half of the vinaigrette. Add the cauliflower, carrot, onion, tomatoes (if using), dried cherries, and herbs. Gently stir to combine, adding more vinaigrette if needed. Season with salt and pepper.

The salad can be held in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature before serving.

*Amanda notes these are optional if you are nightshade-sensitive; if you don’t know what that means, use them!

recipes from The Anti-Inflammation Cookbook by Amanda Haas