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Lamb Burgers with Onion Marmalade

May 28, 2009


When it comes to burgers, I’m a purist. I regard an classic In-N-Out burger as one of the world’s more perfect foods, up there in the Californian pantheon of carne asada, fresh tortillas and warm churros.

But a lamb burger recipe on Brooklyn Farmhouse caught my eye, with its onion marmalade and spicy patties. Its unconventional ingredients – reduced onions, cumin, coriander – are staples in our kitchen, no matter the cuisine at hand. (Raised in East Africa in an Indian household, my husband maintains that every dish, from spaghetti to stir fry, could benefit from onions and a dash of spice.)

This burger proved him right – it was phenomenal. We had to forego the harissa called for in the original recipe, and swapped in arugula for mint and kale, though I’d give those all a spin the next time around. With the sweet onion marmalade and fresh pickles from Chestnut, these sandwiches may not be So-Cal style, but they’re definitely in the running for a perfect Brooklyn burger.


Grilling perfect burgers with a perfect Brooklyn view.

Spicy Onion Marmalade
Both recipes adapted from

2 large red onions, peeled and thinly sliced into half moons
2 large yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced into half moons
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped
3 whole dried chiles or 1 teaspoon dried chile flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy saute pan over medium heat until hot. Add the onion slices and stir to coat. Add the thyme, chiles, salt, and a few grindings of black pepper. Turn the heat down to low.

Cook the onion mixture, stirring occasionally, until the onions have cooked down and have caramelized, 30-45 minutes. Add a tablespoon of water if you notice the onions sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Stir in the honey and the balsamic vinegar to taste. Taste and correct for salt. Remove any remnants of the whole chiles (if using) before serving.

Lamb Burgers
1 pound pasture-raised ground lamb
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Baby arugula
Sharp white cheddar, to taste
Whole wheat rolls or hamburger buns

Preheat the grill. In a medium bowl, combine the lamb, the cumin, the fresh and ground coriander, the garlic, and the salt. Mix gently with your hands (do not over mix or your burgers will be tough). Form into four even balls, then flatten the balls slightly.

Place the lamb patties on the grill. Cook until grill marks appear, 3-4 minutes. Flip patties over and cook on the other side for another 3-4 minutes for medium rare. (Cook longer for a more well-done burger.)

Place each burger on a warmed roll or bun, top with cheddar cheese, a dollop of the spicy onion marmalade, and arugula.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 28, 2009 10:09 am

    Mmm. I’ve made a red onion marmalade before but never with chili flakes. I will have to try your version next time.

  2. Susan permalink
    May 28, 2009 1:21 pm

    Very nice burger shot. I was momentarily confused by the reference to a chestnut pickle, until I clicked on the link. Might I suggest feta, warmed to room temp, as an alternative to the cheddar?

  3. Liz permalink
    May 28, 2009 1:44 pm

    Yes, Chestnut is a restaurant on Smith Street, which has mediocre food, but incredible pickles, which they sell next door at Stinky. Feta would be tasty as well – I’ll try it next time. I’ll definitely be making this again.

  4. May 29, 2009 12:21 am

    this looks delicious. we just had lentil burgers tonight–perhaps sometime we’ll try out the onion marmalade!

  5. May 29, 2009 12:47 am

    Yeah fantastic burger shot, drop by from tasespotting to say hello!

  6. May 29, 2009 6:56 pm

    Thanks so much for the shout out! Your pix look awesome!

  7. June 24, 2009 9:22 pm

    GREAT BURGER! Love these flavors! You might want to check out our ultimate burger contest and enter it – there is even a prize!

  8. tammy permalink
    August 24, 2012 10:41 pm

    looks yummy i want to be able to send this recipe to my email so i have it


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