RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Persian Lamb Burger


1 teaspoon saffron threads
4 tablespoons warm water
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon Salt
2 teaspoons pepper, freshly ground
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 1/2 pounds ground lamb
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
4 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons Pomegranate paste (it’s actually a liquid)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
Oil for oiling the grill
1 or 2 loaves Barbari bread (depending on size)
1 large seedless cucumber
1 cup pickled cauliflower


Prepare a grill for medium high heat.

Grind the saffron using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Place them in a small bowl with the water and lemon juice and allow them to bloom for at least 10 minutes. Mix in the salt, pepper and mayonnaise and whisk until thoroughly combined. Place in a cool spot.

In a large mixing bowl, add the lamb, olive oil, cardamom, garlic, cumin and coriander. Mix well with your hands. Form 6 evenly sized patties, cover and place on ice or cool location.

Place the pomegranate paste, water and sugar in a small pot and mix well. Place the pot on the grill and allow it to reduce for 10 minutes. You want the consistency of a glaze.

Oil the grill and place the patties directly over medium high heat. Cook 4 minutes, flip, then brush on some of the pomegranate glaze. Cook another 4 minutes and flip again. Glaze the other side, allow it to cook for another minute and remove it from the grill. Keep the patties tented in foil.

Slice the bread lengthwise down the center so you have 2 halves. From those halves, slice each big enough so you have 6 top and bottom "buns". Warm the slices on the grill cut side down.

Slice the cumber thinly on a bias. Chop the cauliflower up into thin slices.

To make the burgers, sauce each piece of bread with the mayo sauce then add some chopped cauliflower. Top with a lamb patty and a few slices of cucumber and any remaining glaze. Top that with the top half of the bun. Repeat with the remaining 6 burgers.

Makes 6 burgers.


Although I prefer natural lump charcoal for its smokey flavor, there are times when I need to fire up the gas grill for convenience sake. This recipe replaces the smokey flavor of wood that is lost when cooking without charcoal. It uses smoked bacon, smoked jalapenos and smoked Gouda cheese. Pickled prickly pear cactus is used instead of pickles as it’s a native plant in the southwest and is found in many Mexican dishes.

Nopalitos can be found in the Mexican section of your grocery store. In Vermont, I found the brand "Dona Maria" in most stores. Goya makes Nopalitos as well.