Lamb Burgers, Spicy

Lamb Burgers, Spicy

Michele Scott’s
Spicy Lamb Burgers and
Wine Pairing

This recipe comes from chapter two of A Vintage Murder. Nikki and her boss-turned-boyfriend Derek Malveaux are having lunch together at a café in The Barossa Valley of Australia. They’re discussing the interesting turn of events at The Hahndorf Winery: the filming of a movie starring diva actress Lucy Swanson and a meeting with Derek’s hero, animal kingdom expert Andy Burrows, who is on the set to train the animals. There is also plenty of romantic tension between Nikki and Derek as talk turns to their newfound relationship.

Try a new take on an old American classic – the hamburger. Lamb burgers are popular fare in the land down under, and as lamb is quite a bit lighter than red meat, not only will your taste buds appreciate them, but so will your waistline. Add a good bottle of Shiraz like Sarah’s Blend, and you’ll be pleased you changed it up a bit. So, light up the barbie, mate, grab yourself a nice Shiraz and get cooking!

Spicy Lamb Burgers 

For the burgers:

1 pound ground lamb
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon sherry
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon molasses
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the sandwiches:

4 6-inch rounds (pocket size) pita bread
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

  1. Preheat grill on medium heat.
  2. To make the burgers: Place the lamb in a large bowl, and mix with the mint, cilantro, oregano, garlic, sherry, vinegar, and molasses. Season with cumin, allspice, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper, and mix well. Shape into 4 patties.
  3. Brush grill grate with oil. Grill burgers 5 minutes on each side, or until well done.
  4. To make the sandwiches: Heat the bread briefly on the grill. Place each burger in a pita with ¼ of the feta cheese, and serve.

Yield:  4 burgers

Suggested Wine Pairing:  Marquis Philips Sarah’s Blend 2006

The Barossa Valley of Australia was settled by German immigrants in the 19th century.  The area is a warm-weather region. The valley is well known for producing excellent red wines; the Shiraz coming out of the region is some of the best in the world. The Shiraz vines, some of the oldest in Australia, are prized because as they age the vines tend to lose some of their youthful vigor, leading to smaller yields and more complex flavors.

Winemaker’s notes:
Fresh fruit aromas dominated by lifted spicy & blackcurrant fruit married in with opulent toasty oak.

The 2006 Shiraz was barrel-fermented and aged in predominantly American oak for twelve months. It offers up fragrant aromas of cedar, smoke, tar, blueberry, and blackberry liqueur. Full-bodied, opulent, and structured, this intense, well-balanced Shiraz will evolve for two to three years and drink well through 2016. It is an excellent value.