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Peppered Lamb Burgers With Hot Tomato Jam

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“Build a Better Burger Contest, 1994 first prize winner, Nancy Strande, Snohomish, Washington.”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • Hot Tomato Jam
  • 4 cups ripe tomatoes, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
  • 13 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into chiffonade
  • salt
  • Patties
  • 1 13 lbs freshly ground lamb
  • 2 tablespoons peppercorn blend, very coarsely ground (five-peppercorn blend)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 14 cup merlot
  • salt
  • Remaining ingredients
  • olive oil
  • 4 hamburger buns, split
  • 4 red leaf lettuce leaves


  1. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
  2. Make the jam: combine tomatoes, sugar, ginger, vinegar, and ½ teaspoon of pepper sauce in a flame-proof nonreactive saucepan.
  3. Place pan on the grill rack; bring mixture to a slow simmer.
  4. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally and moving on and off the heat as necessary, until the mixture is reduced by half, about 30 minutes.
  5. Move the pan to the coolest part of the rack and continue to cook for another 15 minutes.
  6. Taste; add remaining pepper sauce to taste.
  7. Continue cooking until mixture reaches a jam-like consistency, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  8. Stir the basil into the cooled mixture and season to taste with salt; set aside.
  9. Make the patties: combine the lamb, peppercorn blend, garlic, sesame oil, and Merlot; season to taste with salt.
  10. Handle the meat as little as possible, but combine mixture well.
  11. Divide mixture into 4 equal portions; form into patties to fit the buns.
  12. Brush grill rack with olive oil; place patties on the rack, cover and cook, turning once, until done to preference—4 minutes on each side for med-rare.
  13. During the last few minutes of cooking, place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to lightly toast.
  14. Assemble burgers: spread the cut sides of buns with tomato jam; on each bun bottom, place a lettuce leaf and a patty; add bun tops and serve.

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