Each time I eat out, if there’s an open kitchen, I stare longingly into it, thinking, “Just one day… Just one day… I want to go in there.” The narrow hallway that leads from the dining room to the bathroom of one of my favourite restaurants has a large open door providing a full view into the kitchen. Despite eating there only once or twice a year, I’m certain that the kitchen staff know me as that weird girl with her face pressed up against the door as they stir the risotto or throw down a basket of fries into the deep fryer. My trips to the bathroom there are always exceptionally long.
I have the same feeling each time I venture into the Blind Duck Pub and spot the open door beyond the bar. Shane Madhani, the general manager, made my dream a reality and invited me to chat with their chef and kitchen manager, Laurisford Thomas, about their Moroccan lamb burger.
“It’s a pub favourite,” says Thomas. “It’s the first item that comes to my mind when someone comes in the door.” Madhani explains that eight years ago, with the help of a consulting company, they completely reengineered the pub’s appearance and menu. It was at this time that Madhani was hired as well.
Like most of life’s mysteries, such as Santa Claus, the secret passage from Davis to North, and the Moroccan lamb burger recipe, the answer is often almost annoyingly simple. “The lack of fatty tissue allows [the ground lamb] to bind easily compared to beef burgers,” says Thomas about the absence of the beaten egg or breadcrumbs typical in most burger recipes.
The recipe below is the “small” batch version—actually a significantly big batch for non-commercial operations, like at home. Try freezing leftover patties or halving or quartering the recipe. That said, its simple steps and large portion yield makes it the ideal dish for gatherings. A word of warning to anyone that invites me to a holiday party this season—we’ll be eating lamb burger galore.
Moroccan Lamb Burger with Mint Yoghurt
MAKES 20 BURGERS
- 1 tub (270 ml) of plain yoghurt
- 10 fresh mint leaves
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) salt
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) pepper
- 10 lbs (5 kg) ground lamb
- 6 tbsp (90 ml) chili powder
- 3 tbsp (45 ml) paprika
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) salt
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) pepper
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) brown sugar
1. Prepare the mint yoghurt by mixing the yoghurt, mint, and first amounts of salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. Combine lamb, chili powder, paprika, and second amounts of salt and pepper until the ingredients are evenly distributed and the meat binds together.
3. Roll the meat into 6oz. balls and flatten into patties.
4. Cook on a grill at 350 F (180 C) or on a frying pan over medium-high heat for 7–8 minutes.
5. Serve on a toasted sesame seed bun with sliced tomatoes, lettuce, and onions. Top each patty with feta cheese, hot sauce, and mint yoghurt.