Three summer hamburgers

There’s a lot to be said for handheld food. No plates, no cutlery, no washing up. And the variety of hamburger ideas available to the new cook is limited only by the imagination. Here we have three great burgers based on lamb, beef and pork. These recipes make a good basis and what you add to the mix is entirely up to you.

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To make four lamb hamburgers you will need:
500g minced lamb
1 chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoons ground cumin (jeera)
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 round Clover feta cheese
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

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Crumble the feta into pea-sized fragments. Finely chop the garlic, onion and fresh mint leaves. Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combine them by hand. Add the feta last to avoid further crumbling of the fragments. Press the mixture into four generous but equal-sized patties. Fry in extra-virgin olive oil until done.

To make four beef hamburgers you will need:
500g minced beef
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 egg
1 slice white bread
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 small chopped onion

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For this recipe briefly forget about cholesterol and avoid 100% lean beef, as you will need a bit of fat to keep the patties in one piece during cooking. Soak the bread in a little water then squeeze to remove most of the liquid. Crumble the wet bread then mix with all the ingredients. Shape four equal-sized patties then fry in olive oil or grill on a braai.

To make four pork hamburgers you will need:
500g minced pork
1 chopped onion
1 red sweet pepper
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 egg

  • 4 sprigs fresh marjoram or 10 basil leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Depip and coarsely chop the sweet red pepper. Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix with your hands.
Shape the mixture into four equal-sized burger patties, using a little manual pressure to squeeze the raw ingredients together. Fry these in a little extra-virgin olive oil until cooked through.

Now for the assembly. Cut fresh burger buns in half and arrange the patty on lettuce, tomato, thinly sliced raw onion and gherkins. Dress the arrangement with your sauce of choice. A freshly-made mayonnaise with Dijon mustard hits the spot, as does a 50/50 combination of mayonnaise and tomato sauce revved up with a dash of Worcestershire sauce.
The lamb burger with its Middle Eastern flavours really gets moving with a simple raita (a mixture of plain yoghurt with finely chopped cucumber and fresh mint). A sprinkle of paprika gives a visual and a flavour accent. What a blast! – David Basckin     |fw