Stretch your mind and appetite. A philosophy I think about often when reflecting on how my dad raised me. And, it was through his divine inspiration that I created this Lamb Burger Stuffed with Panela Cheese and Roasted Jalapeños.
Exploding with flavors, the lamb is well-seasoned with sautéed onions and a host of spices, including red pepper flakes, ground cumin and black pepper, garlic and chopped fresh mint. A little bit of lemon zest brightens the lamb patties and lifts all the flavors to work harmoniously together.
This is exactly the kind of burger my father would enjoy because it takes something classic and plays with it through a world of ingredients and techniques. He worked his whole life as a school teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District and interacted with hundreds of people from various cultures. My dad loved this diversity. He challenged his three sons to think inclusively and broaden ourselves beyond our small barrio. On the weekends he would pack his kids and my mom in the car and we’d explore the city’s cultural enclaves through its food.
As a cook, I have come to realize the enormous influence that upbringing and education has done to the way I approach cuisine in my own home kitchen.
I chose a burger for Father’s Day because no matter how educated my father is, he still enjoys the basic things in life, like spending time with his family and grandchildren, a good game of golf, watching UCLA football, and, eating a cheese burger where the juices run down the side of your hand. Paired of course with an ice cold beer.
When developing this recipe, I knew I didn’t want a cheese that would ooze out of the burger to where you’d barely taste it. I needed something that would hold its shape and flavor. Cacique’s Panela cheese worked perfectly. Panela is a crumbly curd style, all-natural fresh cheese. Made with pasteurized Grade A part skim milk, rennet and sea salt. What I loved about the cheese is that it will soften when heated and will not string.
To complement the lamb burger, I created a mint crema sauce.
I’m blessed to have my father still with us today and can’t wait to serve him this Lamb Burger Stuffed with Panela on Father’s Day.
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WHAT YOU NEED
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
- Zest of half a lemon
- 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
- 4-5 ounces of Cacique® Panela cheese, sliced lengthwise
- 2 roasted jalapeños, julienned
- 4 hamburger buns (brioche, sour dough, make sure it’s good quality)
- Stone ground mustard
- 1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
- For the Mint Crema Sauce
- 1/2 cup of Cacique® Crema Mexicana
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
- Lime zest
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground
HOW TO MAKE IT
- Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil, toss in the diced onions. Bring the pan to medium-high heat and cook the onions for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the salt, red pepper flakes, garlic, black pepper, and ground cumin and cook for 2 to 4 more minutes. Turn the heat off and let cool.
- In a large bowl, combine the lamb, the cooled onion mixture, the mint, oregano, and lemon zest. Mix well (I use my hands). Make a little "tester patty," cook it and taste for seasoning. Adjust accordingly.
- Divide the lamb mixture into 8 equal patties about ¼ of an inch thick and 3 inches in diameter. To assemble the burger, add the slice of Panela cheese and a few strips of the jalapeños in the middle of one patty. Place another patty on top and pitch the round edges to close the cheese so it doesn’t ooze out.
- Grill the burgers to your desired doneness, 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Remove the burgers from the grill and let rest for 3 to 4 minutes.
- In a small bowl, add all of the ingredients for the Mint Crema Sauce and mix well. On the bottom bun, place a spoonful of the Mint Crema Sauce and begin to assemble your burger.