we all know that good things come in three's, so it's no surprise that i like to cook in three's. after all why choose just one pasta dish when you could sample three? why just have one burger when you could have three different mini-burgers? my "three-way" menus as i like to call them offer your tastebuds three times the party, and who could turn that down?
about a month ago, i joined the "underground supper club" movement hosting an-invite only supper club two nights a week. as far as menu planning goes, it's much more fun to feed people in three's. yes cooking in three's is a bit more work than cooking in one's, so the key is coming up with three-way menus that won't take you three times the work like a burger menage a trois, which was served on my september 27th menu. our menage a trois featured the american classic with garlic cheddar; the greek with ground lamb, feta, roasted red pepper and mint; and the vegetarian friendly millet-black bean-chickpea-and-corn with firehouse jack. i searched around a few grocery stores for white castle slyder style buns. unsuccessful, i decided to try baking my own from a very highly rated burger and hot dog bun recipe i found on allrecipes.com.
while the dough for the buns were rising, i just mixed up the ingredients for the three kinds of patties. for the two meat options i used ground chuck for the american classic and ground lamb for the greek. in went an egg, some bread crumbs, italian seasonings, diced onions, chopped parsley, salt & pepper. the only difference is the greek got a boost of chopped mint. the vegetarian option took up just a bit more time as i had to cook the millet and corn but then i just mixed in canned black beans and chick peas with an egg. while the burger patties were grilling, i roasted two red peppers to be topped onto the greek burger and it didn't take long to go from a night of solo fun to some three-way action.
the greek burger
makes 8 sliders or 4 burgers
ingredients for the meat pattie:
1.5 lb. ground lamb
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 onion, diced
handful of parsley, chopped
handful of mint, chopped
1 tsp. italian seasonings
1 tsp. salt
couple grinds of fresh black pepper
mix all ingredients together in large mixing bowl using your hands. shape into 8 or 4 balls (depending if you're making sliders or burgers) and form into patties. cook on a grill, grill pan or frying pan until desired doneness. i prefer mine medium-rare, which is at about 130 to 140 degrees (yes, i'm telling you to ignore the u.s. dept of agriculture's recommendation of always cooking meat till at least 160 degrees - it will not kill you if you're using good meat).
ingredients for topping the burger:
2 red peppers
2 tbs oil
1/2 cup of feta, crumbled
a handful of fresh mint
you can certainly buy pre-roasted red peppers from the store but i always prefer to roast my own. i like to start by de-seeding my red peppers. just cut a circle around the stem on top and yank it out. clean out the seeds inside the pepper with a spoon. i use a basting brush to coat the skin of the red pepper with olive oil. you now have the option of charring the peppers using your gas range or your oven's broiler setting. if you're doing it over a gas range, turn your range to medium-high and set your pepper right on top of the flame. once the skins blisters and chars, use tongs to turn the pepper. if doing it in a broiler, line a glass baking dish with foil and turn peppers about every 5 minutes. regardless of what method you choose, once the entire skin of the pepper becomes black and charred, place them into a paper bag, seal tight and shake it like a polaroid picture for about 30 seconds. the steaming from the heat of the peppers and shaking loosens the skins, which can now be easily removed.
cut your peppers into burger topping pieces, and top your lamb burger with your roasted red peppers, feta and mint.