Food + Wine

Fancy Date Night Burgers

 We had this for dinner this past Friday night.  Friday night is date night for us.  I can remember when date night meant going somewhere.  It meant make-up, a new outfit, shaved legs and a menu.  Now it means, putting the kids down, sitting on the couch with wet hair and pj’s and eating a home-cooked meal with wine at around 9 pm.  And you know what?  I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  We cook some damn fine things on Friday nights.  A lot of times we have some sort of steak dinner…Brazilian inspired, American, Mexican, you name it, we’ve done it.  But I wanted to do something a little different this week.  I had some ground lamb in the freezer and decided to come up with something fantastic to do with it while it defrosted.

I remember awhile back I made little deconstructed Ground Beef Wellingtons for a date-night meal and it was awesome.  I cooked off some puff pastry, covered it with a mushroom-red wine ‘gravy’ and placed a burger patty on top.  It had all the flavors you love in a Beef Wellington, but was less fussy, cheaper and easier.  It was like a super fancy open-faced burger.  So I thought I would do something similar this time around.  This dish is amazing.  Really and truly awesome.  Each component of the meal serves a purpose, even the flourish of fresh parsley make all the difference in the world.  The lamb is incredibly flavorful and rich, the slow roasted tomatoes are tart and sweet, the onions silky smooth and I don’t need to tell you what the pastry does to the meal.  I even had a leftover one of these for lunch over the weekend and it was still delicious.

If you don’t prefer lamb, then take this idea and create your own fancy burger with what you like and I promise you will be glad you did.


 **Lamb Patties on Puff Pastry with Caramelized Onions and Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Here’s how to make these delicious ‘burgers’, broken down into several sections.  Everything except the puff pastry can be done ahead of time.

**Slow Roasted Tomatoes

I make these a lot, and use them in a ton of different things…they’re excellent on sandwiches, in omelets, salads, and on a cheese platter with wine.  They are sooo delicious!

-Grease a couple cookie sheets with extra virgin olive oil and place your sliced tomatoes* in a single layer on the pans.  Season each slice liberally with kosher salt, brown sugar and dried rosemary.  Drizzle each with more olive oil, being sure to get them all coated.
-Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour, then reduce the heat to 250 and cook for another 2-3 hours, or until they have darkened and the edges are crispy. Taste one to check your seasoning.  They’re done with they’re chewy and maybe slightly crispy on the edges, sweet, tart and savory.
-Transfer them to a plate or container until you’re ready to assemble your dish (or store in the fridge, covered for up to a week.)

(*Roma tomatoes are the best, but my mother’s garden is overflowing with
beautiful large tomatoes so I used those for this.  Whichever kind you use, slice them about
1/2 inch thick.)

**Caramelized Onions
-Thinly slice 2 yellow onions and place in a nedium-hot skillet with olive oil.  Toss to coat in the oil.
-Season with a good amount of kosher salt, black pepper, sugar and a few pinches of ground allspice.  
-Cook until softened, (about 20-30 minutes unless you cook them on a higher temp) and deglaze the pan with about 1/2 cup of dry red wine.  Scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pan and allow the wine to bubble for a minute or so.
-Once the wine reduces to about a third, taste and readjust your seasoning if necessary.
-Set aside while you assemble your dish (or store in the fridge, covered, for about a week.)

**Lamb Patties
-In a bowl, combine 1 lb. ground lamb with 1 tsp
coriander seeds, ground, 1 tsp fennel seeds, ground, 1/2 tsp ground
allspice, 2 tsp kosher salt, and the zest of 1 lemon.

-Mix with your hands until well combined but be careful not to over-mix.
-Set aside until you’re ready to assemble your dish (or refrigerate, covered, for a few hours if you’re making the mixture ahead of time).
(See how to cook the patties at the ‘assembly’ part of the recipe)

**Puff Pastry
-Cut 1 sheet of store-bought puff pastry** into
4th’s.  Place each piece onto an un-greased cookie sheet and bake in a
preheated 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until they have
puffed and become a light golden brown.
-Set aside while you assemble your dish.

(**You can find all-butter puff pastry in the freezer section of most health food/gourmet stores and it’s so much better than the kind you get at the regular store, but if that’s all you can find, these will still be delicious!)

**Lamb Cooking and Assembly
-Form your ground lamb mixture into 4 equal sized, flat patties, pressing down in the center of each one to ensure even cooking.
-Sear each patty in a dry, hot skillet on both sides to form a crispy outside and then transfer to a hot oven (the 400 degrees you were using for the pastry would be fine).
-Cook until desired done-ness.  I like my lamb cooked almost all the way through, so I checked mine after about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.
-Place a puff pastry square onto the plate, top each piece with a generous amount of the tomatoes, then a lot of the onion mixture, and nestle a lamb patty on top of that.  Garnish with fresh parsley.
-Eat immediately.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Tangos Treasures July 31, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Looks really great!! I'm going to have to try it!!

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