Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Cooking with Booze: Spiced Lamb & IPA Burger with Fruity Salsa

Alcoholic Burgers. Yippee!!!

Ever since I saw that Honest Burger had created the world's first Burger with an ABV, I've been obsessed with trying it myself. Beer gives food incredible depth, nice subtle flavours and punchy undertones.

To celebrate the Cricket World Cup, I've gone all Southern Hemisphere-ey, mainly because I don't think England have a hope in hell at winning. In the spirit of trying new things and flavours from different countries, I've put together a recipe for a New Zealand-inspired alcoholic Burger.

When I started thinking of what to put in my burger, I thought of what makes New Zealand famous. Lamb, Kiwis & Avocados all made it on to my list, as did Hobbits, Gandalf & Gollum. Knowing I wouldn't find any Hobbits or Middle Earth creatures in my local supermarket, I settled on the former three ingredients for my epic recipe.

As in everything I do, I looked at how to incorporate booze into my food, and started thinking of the wave of New Zealand craft brews that have been emerging over the last year or so.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get my hands on anything brewed in New Zealand on short notice, so I opted for a bottle of Punk IPA, which is widely available and contains bucket loads of Nelson Sauvin hops; native to New Zealand, and full of those characteristics found in its grape cousin from the same region.

Ultimately, I settled on my epic recipe; Spiced Lamb & IPA Burger with Kiwi, Pomegranate & Avocado Salsa!


For the Burger:
400g Lamb Mince (20% fat)
2 Fresh Mint Sprigs, finely chopped
1 330ml Bottle/Can Brewdog Punk IPA
1 Tablespoon French Mustard
2 Teaspoons Cumin
2 Teaspoons Crushed Coriander Seeds
2 Teaspoons Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Sea Salt
2 Cloves Garlic, crushed (I used Smoked Garlic from Morrisons' Garden Street)
2 Teaspoons Onion Powder

For the Salsa:
2 Kiwis, diced
1/4 Red Onion, finely chopped and diced
1 Snack Box Pomegranate Seeds
1 Ripe Avocado
1 Fresh Jalepeno
1 Tablespoon Fresh Coriander, chopped
Pinch Sea Salt


In a metal bowl, flatten the mince and simply poor in the whole bottle of IPA. It will reduce to a wet mess. There is absolutely NO WAY you can make a burger out of what you have. It resembles porridge, doesn't it? Don't worry! Allow the lamb to marinate for 10 - 20 minutes, and absorb most of the beer.

Next, pop the wet mess into a sieve, and strain out as much of the liquid as possible and discard. You may have to push and press the mixture until it starts to resemble mince again, and you have a workable, pliable mixture.

Pop all of your herbs and spices into the metal bowl, and mix very well with the lamb mince.

Take a hot griddle pan and a small sample of your pattie mix. Fry it until cooked and taste for the seasoning.

Now to make your salsa! Halve the avocado and remove the stone. Cut one half into 2 and peel off the skin. Save the other half for Avocado on Toast for breakfast (trust me, avocado spread on toast topped with a squeeze of lemon, black pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt is the proverbial bollocks!).

Dice your two quarters of Avocado and cut the skin off of your Kiwis and dice also. Pop them in a mixing bowl and pour in 2/3 of the Pomegranate seeds. Crush the remaining seeds to release the juice, and pour that in. Mix in a sprinkle of Sea Salt, a pinch of ground black pepper and 1/4 of a finely chopped diced Red Onion. Finally, deseed a Fresh Jalepeno and chop as finely as you can. Add this in to the mix and stir well. Your Salsa should be sweet, tangy, creamy, spicy and delicious. I ate spoonfuls of this on its own, and would make a winning salad at a BBQ! I fought with myself to save enough for the burgers...

Shape your lamb mix into 3 equal sized patties, preheat a Griddle pan and add a tiny bit of oil, just to make sure the lamb doesn't stick. Once smoking, pop your patties onto the griddle and grill for 3 and a half minutes each side.

When nicely coloured and cooked through, pop your burgers into some nice crusty seeded buns and spoon on loads of the Salsa. Serve immediately with more beer!

What I love about this recipe is the depth of flavours going on. The beer adds a little bitterness and hop character to the lamb, which cuts through the fat nicely, while the Salsa compliments the whole thing perfectly. You get a good crunch from the Pomegranate seeds, releasing happy bursts of sweetness.


I was asked by Betfair to take part in the Cricket World Cup Challenge  - all of the content, recipes and advice are our own, as ever.

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