Though you may have some mixed feelings about eating creatures as sweet as lambs (I’m with you), the fact is that lamb is one of the healthiest of meats. Being young, it hasn't had the chance to accumulate as many toxins as older animals. And unlike beef, lamb is almost never “factory farmed”—although many Colorado lambs are “finished” at feedlots, and there are other isolated exceptions.
Health-wise, lamb meat is much less likely to contain antibiotics, steroids, or hormones because the majority of lambs are pasture-raised. Most of the fat in lamb is actually monounsaturated, the kind found in olive oil and consumed in large amounts in the Mediterranean diet. And of course lamb is a wonderful source of high-quality protein.
So take a break from those god-awful, nitrate-filled, mystery-meat hotdogs and that factory farmed, hormone-laden beef, and try this delicious and unusual burger instead.
Notes from Chef Jeannette
There are a couple keys to making terrific burgers. To keep them juicy, don't over-handle the meat or pack the patties too tightly. You should mix the ingredients until they're just incorporated, and pack them just tightly enough to hold together while cooking. To encourage even cooking on the grill, gently indent the centers of each patty with a spoon or your thumb. They will continue to cook for a few minutes once removed from the grill, so take that into consideration when you're gauging doneness.
MAKES 4 BURGERS
A unique twist on the classic American hamburger, this version replaces ground beef with leaner, healthier lamb, and adds in tomato paste, currants, and spices to provide a little extra kick.
1 lb. lean ground lamb
1/3 cup tomato paste
¼ cup raw rolled oats
1/4 cup dried currants (or 1/3 cup raisins)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp. salt
½ tsp. coriander
½ tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. black pepper
4 whole-grain sandwich thins
4 lettuce leaves
1 heirloom tomato, thickly sliced
¼ cup goat cheese½ red onion, sliced into thin rings
PER SERVING: 385 cal; 34g prot; 12g total fat (5g sat fat); 39g carb; 83mg chol; 948mg sod; 8g fiber; 12g sugars