RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Kasbah Burgers with Tomato Pomegranate Salsa and Orange-Saffron Mayonnaise

Ingredients 

Patties:
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
8 ounces merguez sausage, casing removed, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons Sutter Home Zinfandel
4 teaspoons ras al hanout
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 pounds lamb
10 dried apricots, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

Orange-Saffron Mayonnaise:
1/4 teaspoon saffron
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2/3 cup mayonnaise

Tomato Pomegranate Salsa:
1 large tomato, chopped and drained
2 tablespoons sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped, plus 1 tablespoon of the oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (or glaze)
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 - 3 tablespoons vegetable oil for brushing the grill grates
6 thick pita breads

Instructions 

Preheat gas grill to medium-high or prepare a medium hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover.

For patties, combine the onion, sausage, wine, ras al hanout, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Transfer to a large bowl and add lamb, apricots and mint. Handling the ingredients as little as possible, mix well and form into 6 patties that are flat and oval-shaped to fit the pitas. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate or place in a cooler.

To make the mayonnaise, mix the saffron and orange juice in a small bowl and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Whisk in the zest and mayonnaise. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate or place in cooler.

For salsa, mix together the tomato, sundried tomatoes and their oil, pine nuts, scallions, garlic, salt, pomegranate molasses and honey in a small bowl. Stir in the mint and parsley. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate or place in cooler.

When the grill is ready, brush the grate with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill, cover and cook for 4-5 minutes per side, turning only once. Remove the burgers from the grill to a plate, cover with foil and allow to rest for about 5 minutes. Place the pitas on the outer edges of the grill to warm for about 1 minute.

To assemble the burgers, slice off and discard about 1/4 of each pita. Open the bread and spread the inside with orange-saffron mayonnaise. Put a lamb patty into each one and spoon some salsa on top.

Makes 6 burgers

Comments 

I have been in love with ras al hanout as a seasoning since my very first visit to a Moroccan restaurant. Each blend of ras al hanout is different and usually a secret, depending on what spices the family or spice vendor decides to include. The blend I use contains 35 herbs and spices, including lavender, rosebuds and grains of paradise as well as cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, turmeric and chili peppers. I’ve found that a decent substitute is half curry powder and half garam masala.