RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Old World Aegean Burgers with Spicy Fig Sauce and Tangy Goat Cheese Spread

This recipe is such an unusual combination of flavors- inspired by my meatball hors d’oeuvres that are always polished off quickly at parties. The spices are unexpected yet harmonious, the sweetness of the glaze tempers the spice, and the goat cheese cools off the palate. This recipe may seem to be an odd combination of flavors, but try it, I think you’ll agree it’s a winner!

Ingredients 

1 tablespoon coriander seed
1 tablespoon ground mustard seed
1/4 cup fresh sage, chopped finely
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped finely
1/4 lb ground lamb
1 3/4 lb ground chuck
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup muscadine or grape preserves/jam
1/4 cup fig preserves
1 teaspoon adobo (from canned chipotles in adobo)
2 tablespoons port wine
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
4 ounces soft mild goat cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup spinach leaves, washed and de-stemmed
Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 ciabatta rolls, split

Instructions 

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium high.
To make the patties: Combine the coriander, mustard, sage, allspice, oregano, lamb, chuck, garlic, and salt in a large bowl. Mix very gently to combine, being careful not to over mix the meat. Divide the meat into six equal portions, making a small indention in the middle to prevent the burgers from bulging. Set aside.
To make the fig sauce: In a small fireproof saucepan over medium heat, combine the grape preserves, fig preserves, adobo, and port wine. Simmer over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until it is thick and the flavors have concentrated. Set aside.
To make the goat cheese spread: In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, goat cheese, and heavy cream. Whisk until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
To make the spinach topping: Mix the balsamic and olive oil in a small bowl and whisk until emulsified. Add spinach and toss lightly to coat.
When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil .Grill the patties with the grill top closed for 4 minutes. Turn and grill until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the patties registers 160 degrees F (for medium), about 4 minutes longer. Carefully spoon the fig sauce over the patties and set aside.
During the last 2 minutes of grilling the patties, place the rolls, cut side down, on the grill to toast.
To assemble the burgers, place a patty atop each bottom bun. Top each patty with about 1/3 cup spinach leaves. Slather a generous amount of goat cheese sauce on the bun top, and add to the patty.