Courtesy Jenn de la Vega, Showdown: Comfort Food, Chili and BBQ (Page Street Publishing, 2017)
“Cumin and lamb go so well together. I wanted to convert my favorite Sichuan style stir-fry dish into a sandwich. The spices in this burger pack a punch. If you don’t like spicy food, omit the ancho powder and slather on a spoonful of yogurt to cool it off. However, I really enjoy this burger with an additional kick of bacon chili oil.” —Jenn de la Vega
Total Cooking Time: up to 4 hours passive
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- ½ teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
- ½ teaspoon ancho pepper powder
- 1 teaspoon heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon apple brandy
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided into 4 pieces
- 4 English muffins
- ¼ cup plain yogurt, for serving, optional
Combine everything but the butter and muffins in a medium mixing bowl. Carefully fold the ingredients together, making sure not to overwork it. Refrigerate for an hour or up to 4. Divide the meat into 4 balls.
Split and toast your English muffins on indirect grill heat. Shape the meatballs into 1-inch thick discs. They will shrink on the grill. As you place the burgers on the grill, make a quick divot in the center with your thumb and place a pat of butter in each one. Make sure it is melted before you flip. Cook for 4 minutes on each side or until their internal temperatures read 160°F.
Alternatively, split and toast your English muffins in the oven. Then reduce the oven to a holding temperature of 200°F. Heat a cast-iron pan on high. Just before you put in a meatball, throw in a pat of butter and then smash the burger on top of it with a spatula, to 1-inch thickness. Cook for 3 minutes on each side, or at least up to an internal temperature of 160°F. Store the burgers in the oven until you are ready to serve with a dollop of yogurt. Serves 4.