Monday, March 27, 2017

Kafta Lamburger on a Seasonal Herb Focaccia Bun with Mint Tahini

     Mediterranean Flavor!
     Ground Lamb is rarely used for making burger patties.  Lamb is an alternative burger meat choice that many people will go out of their way to experience.  Lamb meat is well liked world wide, so making a Lamburger would not be considered to be too farfetched.   
     A burger made with plain ground lamb meat would not really be something to write home about.  Lamb has a fairly strong flavor and the fat makes the gamey flavor linger on the palate.  The strong flavor of lamb or mutton is why so many traditional lamb recipes are highly seasoned or marinated.  
     When seeking ways to tame the flavor of ground lamb meat, the best option is to browse through Mediterranean style lamb recipe.  It seems like every culture in this region has plenty of perfected lamb recipes that have been around for thousands of years.  Most of the Mediterranean region lamb recipes are marinated or highly seasoned with a complex mixture of garlic and spices.  
     Kafta Spice Mixtures are a prime example of how a complex mixture of herbs and spices can do far more than just tame a strong meat flavor.  Kafta Spice is often used to flavor minced meats for kebabs and meatloaf that is used for making Gyro.  There are nearly as many ways to spell Kafta as there are Kafta Spic Mix recipes.  Some old family Kafta Spice Mix recipes have been passed on from one generation to the next since the days of ancient Egypt, so meat that is flavored with a good Kafta Spice Mix is like tasting the essence of Mediterranean culinary history.   
     Tahini is sesame paste.  Tahini Sauce is made with sesame paste, lemon juice, red sumac berry, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Mint tastes nice with Tahini Sauce and this flavor combination goes well with a Kafta Spice Lamburger.            

     Seasonal Herb Focaccia Hamburger Rolls:  
     Any kind of burger roll can be used for today's recipe.  If fresh baked Seasonal Herb Focaccia is preferred, then follow the link to the recipe in this website.  

     Basic Kafta Spice Mixture:
     This recipe yields about 1/2 cup.
     It is much cheaper to buy a container of Kafta Spice Mix at a Mediterranean food market, than it is to purchase all the spices separately.  In case there are no Mediterranean food markets in your area, then this Kafta Spice Mix recipe may be handy.  There are many regional variations of Kafta Spice Mix, so there is no single definitive recipe.  
     Salt is traditionally added as a separate seasoning and is not part of a Kaftah Spice Mix.  Saffron, mint and other herbs are usually added after the ground meat is flavored with Kafta Spices.
     *About 1 tablespoons of Kafta Spice Mix is needed for 1 large 8 ounce lamb burger patty.  
     Step 1:  Place these ingredients in a container:
     - 2 tablespoons of mild cinnamon
     - 1 tablespoon of allspice
     - 1 tablespoon of cumin
     - 1 tablespoon of coriander
     - 1 tablespoon of mild paprika 
     - 1/2 tablespoon of black pepper
     - 1/2 teaspoon of mace
     - 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
     - 1/2 teaspoon of ground fennugreek
     - 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom 
     Step 2:  Place a lid on the container.
     Shake the container till the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
     Store the Kafta Spice Mix till it is needed.   

     Kafta Lamburger Patty:
     This recipe yields 1 large 8 ounce lamb burger patty!  
     Step 1:  Place 7 1/2 ounces lean ground lamb in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 teaspoon of garlic paste.
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely minced onion.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
     Add 1 tablespoon of Kafta Spice Mix.
     Step 2:  Add 2 pinches of dried mint.
     Add 1 pinch of rubbed Safflower Saffron.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced Italian Parsley.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of sumac berry spice.  (available in middle eastern markets)
     Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of marjoram.
     Step 3:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of finely ground toasted sesame seed.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of whisked egg. 
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of finely ground French bread crumbs (or fine ground Matzo Meal). 
     Step 4:  Thoroughly mix the ingredients together.
     Chill the ground lamb mixture for 1 hour, so the flavors meld and the texture stiffens.
     Step 5:  Shape the Kafta Lamburger mixture into a large thick burger patty.
     Keep the Kafta Lamburer Patty chilled till it is needed.

     Mint Tahini Sauce:
     This recipe yields almost 1/2 cup.  (3 or 4 petite condiment portions)
     Step 1:  Place 2 1/2 tablespoons of sesame paste (tahini) in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
     Add 2 teaspoons of virgin olive oil.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of sumac berry spice.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of garlic paste.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt.
     Add 1 pinch of white pepper.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of rubbed dried mint.
     Step 2:  Add 2 tablespoons of warm water while stirring.
     Allow the sesame paste to absorb the liquid.
     *The sesame paste will become very thick after it rests for a few minutes.
     Step 3:  Add 1 teaspoon of water at a time, while stirring, till the sauce is a medium thin consistency that can coat a spoon.  (Only a small amount of water will be needed.)
     Step 4:  Place the Mint Tahini Sauce in a container.
     Set the sauce aside or chill it for later use.

     Kafta Lamburger on a Seasonal Herb Focaccia Bun with Mint Tahini:
     This recipe yields 1 large 8 ounce burger entrée.
     Step 1:  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of blended olive oil.
     Place the Kafta Lamburger Patty in the pan .
     Grill the Lamburger on both sides, till it fully cooked and lightly browned.
     *Be sure to flip the burger a few times, to prevent excess browning.  A probe thermometer placed in the center of the burger patty should read 165ºF.
     Step 2:  Place the Kafta Lamburger on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan and let it rest for 1 minute.
     Step 3:  Warm a large Seasonal Herb Focaccia Burger Roll in an oven.
     Split the roll in half.
     Place the Kafta Lamburger on the burger roll and place it on a plate.
     Lean the top half of the roll against the burger.
     Step 4:  Stack these garnishes on the plate:
     - thin sliced strips of lettuce or Napa Cabbage
     - thin sliced strips of kale
     - thin sliced onion
     - Italian Parsley sprigs
     - 1 thin slice of Persian Preserved Lemon
     - 1 Pickled Yellow Guero Chile Pepper (spicy hot) or a Pickled Mild Paprika Pepper
     Place 1 small ramekin of the Mint Tahini Sauce on the plate.  (about 2 1/2 tablespoons)

     The aroma and flavor of a Kafta Lamburger is captivating! 

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