Beef, pork and poultry were not only a source of income to support our large farm family in southern Minnesota but also a souce of daily sustenance. The cattle provided rich whole milk and cream as well as succulent roasts and steaks for the numerous steak frys we enjoyed so often during the summer months in our large grass carpeted front yard. The pigs supplied us with endless supplies of pork chops and meat ground for sausage. The chickens contentedly provided us with an ongoing supply of fresh eggs as they would cluck and cackle away in the hen house. There were also the spring fryers raised from chicks that were destined to be oven roasted or pan fried. Occasionally an old hen would end up in the stewpot, complemented with light fluffy dumplings for a satisfying meal on a chilly evening. Muscovy ducks even quacked and waddled around the acreage on occasion, destined for the roasting pan! One meat that we did not have as youngsters, however, was lamb. Several of our neighbors raised sheep but only for the wool and not the dinner table.
Years have gone by and lamb is now a part of our dining experience here at home. We enjoy the occasional lamb chop seasoned very simply with one of our rubs then grilled to perfection. Lamb chops, however, tend to be quite expensive and I began looking for ways to enjoy lamb without taking such a huge chunk out of the food budget. The answer? Ground lamb prepared as a delicious and succulent burger stuffed with rich creamy goat cheese. These are particularly wonderful in that they can be prepared in advance and frozen, then pulled from the freezer for a quick, delicious evening meal. We last enjoyed these a couple of nights ago accompanied with sauteed bok choy and a side of thinly sliced beets garnished with a dollop of creme fraiche… a magnificent meal it was!
Goat Cheese Stuffed Lamb Burgers
In a large bowl combine:
1 1/2 lb ground lamb
1/2 C minced Italian parsley
grated peel from 2 lemons
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped or microplaned
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
Mix well to combine and form into 6 equally sized balls. Using your thumbs and fingers create a well in each:
Divide into six pieces:
4-oz goat cheese
Press one piece of goat cheese into each well:
Pull the sides of each burger up in purse string fashion:
Gently pull the lamb mixture over the cheese to completely enclose it. Shape the burger with your fingers and the palms of your hands, pressing down gently, forming a burger 1-inch in thickness:
Place tray of burgers in the freezer. When frozen transfer individual burgers to a resealable freezer bag. Defrost completely before grilling. Or, should you choose, grill immediately for instant gratification! Twelve to fifteen minutes on the grill, turning them at midpoint depending on the level of doneness you prefer, will pleasure your palate… especially when your fork releases the flavorful goat cheese tucked away inside. Bon Appetit!
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