Guest Post: Blended Lamb Harissa Burgers by Crumb: A Food Blog

We have a guest in the kitchen! We’re happy to have Isabelle of Crumb: A Food Blog back in our kitchen. This time, Isabelle has brought the Blend & Extend concept to the table in a fun new way, using ground lamb in her burgers. These juicy burgers are packed with flavour and nutrition!

Hello, fellow mushroom fans! I’m delighted to be back on the Mushrooms Canada blog today with a new recipe.

I’m sure that by now you’ve heard of Blend and Extend, a technique where you replace part of the ground beef in your recipe with finely chopped mushrooms. I love using this trick for my burgers because it lets me sneak an extra serving of vegetables into my meal and also cuts down on fat… all without sacrificing any of the delicious meaty texture, flavour and satisfying juiciness that is essential in a proper burger patty.

Up til now, I’ve only ever used this method with ground beef, but for this post I wanted to try it out with a slightly more unusual protein: ground lamb.

Lamb is actually a perfect candidate for Blend and Extend, because it’s a bit fattier than ground beef and has a heftier price tag, which means that substituting part of the meat with finely chopped crimini mushrooms is good for both your waistline and your budget.

And, as a bonus, the mushrooms accentuate lamb’s naturally earthy flavour, which means these patties are anything but short on flavour – especially in this version, where I’ve seasoned them with a flavourful blend of fresh cilantro, finely chopped onion, and harissa, a North African hot pepper paste that adds both flavour and heat.

To finish things off, I paired these burgers with a tangy yogurt-garlic sauce that helps to temper the harissa’s spiciness, along with a handful of peppery arugula for freshness. Meanwhile, a thin pita bun fits nicely with the North African flavours, and conveniently cuts down on carbs… because, in case you haven’t noticed, swimsuit season is almost here.

And speaking of swimsuit season, these burgers are a perfect excuse to get your backyard grill fired up for a weekend cookout. However, if the weather isn’t cooperating, I can vouch for the fact that they’re also perfectly delicious cooked up in a cast-iron grill pan or on a countertop griddle.

Blended Lamb Harissa Burgers
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes | Serves 4
Ingredients
200g crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped
400g ground lamb
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup finely diced red onion
1 tbsp harissa paste
½ tsp salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
4 pita buns (or regular hamburger buns)
Arugula sprouts, for garnish
Garlic-Yogurt Sauce:
½ cup full-fat plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
½ tsp salt

Method
1. Using a food processor, pulse the mushrooms until very finely chopped.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground lamb, chopped mushrooms, cilantro, onion, harissa paste, salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix until well combined, then shape into four large patties. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, make the garlic-yogurt sauce by whisking together the yogurt, garlic and salt in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. Preheat a lightly oiled gas or charcoal grill (or, if you prefer, you can use a lightly-oiled cast-iron grill pan or a countertop griddle on medium-high heat).
5. Once the grill is good and hot, cook the burgers for 4-5 minutes per side, or until they’re well-browned on the outside and an instant-read thermometer registers an internal temperature of 160F.
6. Serve the burgers in pita buns topped with a dollop of garlic-yogurt sauce and a generous pinch of arugula sprouts.

Note: These patties are a little more fragile than a more traditional burger patty, so handle them gently when flipping. I find you get the best results if you only flip them once, halfway through the cook time.

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If you’re looking for an exciting new take on ! Thanks, once again, to Kathy for joining us on the blog and for sharing such a lovely take on a classic dish. We can’t wait to see what’s next from you!!
Be sure to follow along with Isabelle at her blog Crumb: A Food Blog, and on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

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