Grass-Fed Lamb Burgers with Yassa Onions

Chef Pierre Thiam
Chef Pierre Thiam

Everyone loves burgers! This lamb burger is made with caramelized onions, our grass-fed lamb, and garnished with a special yassa sauce that has a sweet and acidic taste, so there is no need for pickles, although a spicy mustard is a great addition. If you want the burger even spicier, use Chef Thiam’s fiery Tamarind Kani Sauce-a great spicy condiment that can be served with pretty much anything, just like ketchup.

In many West African countries burgers are served topped with a fried egg which is a fun way to serve this one. Eggs are nearly nature’s perfect food and a great addition not only for breakfast. Looks delicious? It is nutritious and delicious!

This recipe is used with permission from Chef Pierre Thiam. Find more of his recipes in his book Senegal: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bowl and on his website.

Yassa onion lamb burger with egg
These Senegal-inspired lamb burgers with caramelized onions, a fried egg and hot mustard are a great alternative to regular burgers.

Ingredients 

Burgers

Yassa lamb burger ingredients
Yassa lamb burger ingredients

2 lb  Ground Lamb or Ground Goat
1 garlic clove, minced
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 lime, grated zest
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 Tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for brushing

Yassa Onions

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
1 dried bay leaf
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 lime juice
8 buns

Optional Toppings

Fried eggs
Dijon mustard
Tamarind Kani Sauce

Method

Yassa lamb burger patties
Yassa lamb burger patties

Burgers

  • Place ground lamb in a large bowl and add all ingredients.
  • Using your hands, mix until well-combined.
  • Shape into 6 to 8 burgers. Place on a platter, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or longer.

Onions

  • Heat the oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the onions and bay leaf and stir well to coat.
  • Season lamb burgers with salt and pepper.
  • Cover and cook undisturbed for 10 to 15 minutes, until soft.
  • Add lime juice and stir well.
  • Adjust the seasoning and raise the heat to medium-high.
  • Cook the onions uncovered for another 10 minutes or more, stirring from time to time to avoid scorching, until the onions are golden brown.
  • Remove the bay leaf and adjust the seasoning.

Grill and Serve

  • Preheat the grill or grill pan.
  • Brush the burgers with a little oil to avoid sticking.
  • Cook the burgers to desired temperature.
  • Set aside to rest for a few minutes before serving.
  • Top with the yassa onions, optional mustard or kani sauce

Tamarind Kani Sauce

1 Tablespoon peanut oil
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
6 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 Scotch bonnet pepper, coarsely chopped
1 dried bay leaf
2 Tablespoons tamarind paste
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoons Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Cook the onion and garlic, stirring frequently, until soft and fragrant. Add the tomatoes, Scotch bonnet, and bay leaf. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until thick like a chutney, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon and adding a little water if necessary.
  • Add the tamarind, sugar and fish sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the bay leaf and puree in a food processor or blender until smooth. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
  • Makes about 1 cup.

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