Ten years ago I was the first guy to say that cooking with coffee was too trendy for me. But over time, we’ve experimented with coffee by using it like pepper to round out a spice mix. So resist the urge to think of these as theme recipes, designed only as a way to work coffee onto the table via food. The power of coffee as a spice is evident since basically that’s what a cup of coffee is: spiced water. So making the jump to bringing the aromatic power of coffee to food is a natural. Coffee likes lamb simply because it does. Don’t analyze it. Try it. Sometimes stuff just works.
Photo credit for images: The Workshop Kitchen
Coffee Likes Lamb Spice Mix
Makes about 2 Tablespoons and is easily multiplied.
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon fresh good coffee, ground fine
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Using a mortar and pestle, grind the whole peppercorns and whole allspice berries until they resemble coarsely ground coffee. Add remaining ingredients, and mash them into each other with the pestle by working the mixture against the mortar. Store in tightly sealed container.
Coffee Spiced Lamb Burger with Harissa Yogurt
Makes two 8 ounce burgers.
½ pound ground lamb
½ pound ground beef
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons coffee spice mix
2 large sandwich buns or rolls, split
For topping: ½ cup yogurt mixed with 2 teaspoons Harissa.
Mix meat, herbs and spice mix together until just combined. Divide in half, and pat out into two burgers.
Salt burgers, and sear in a skillet with olive oil to desired temperature. (An average cooking time is 8 to 10 minutes, but this will vary depending upon the pan and the heat.) Remove burgers, returning the skillet to the heat and toasting the bread in the meat drippings, adding a little extra olive oil to the pan if necessary.
Transfer buns to serving dishes, add burgers and top with a dollop of Harissa yogurt.