Lamb Sliders with Caramelized Onions and Gorgonzola + Wine Pairings

March 31, 2021

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Lamb burger sliders with gorgonzola & caramelized onions paired with Cabernet Sauvignon

Lamb Slider Ingredients

Lamb

Lamb is a tender red meat with a distinctive gamey flavor, due mainly to a grass-fed diet. It’s important to cook it properly for the best flavor and to maintain tenderness. Use a meat thermometer to cook lamb to medium-rare or medium; it should still be a little pink inside. Avoid cooking lamb well-done (180° + Fahrenheit) because it will become tough and dry.

The best temperatures for lamb:

  • Medium-rare: 145° Fahrenheit
  • Medium: 160° Fahrenheit

Source: Cooking Light Way to Cook

Caramelized onions

Even though I read Under the Tuscan Sun years ago, one thing I remember distinctly is Frances Mayes’ directions for caramelized onions: they should be cooked low and slow so that they “melt.” Yellow onions are the best variety to choose for their natural sweetness; it’s the natural sugars that caramelize over a low flame (although a little brown sugar and balsamic vinegar can be added to taste).

Simply Recipes has some great advice on how to prevent the onions from drying out or burning – simply add a little water (about a tablespoon at a time). I love this method as adding extra oil or butter can make the onions too greasy and heavy.

Gorgonzola DOP

Gorgonzola DOP is a cow’s milk blue cheese from the region of Lombardy.

Gorgonzola Piccante DOP

The piccante version of Gorgonzola gets it’s name from the “spicy” or sharp tangy flavor.

Gorgonzola Dolce DOP

Gorgonzola Dolce is much more creamy and mild than the piccante version, or “sweet” as the name dolce implies. This is a better option if you don’t enjoy the sharp pungency of blue cheese.

Lamb burger sliders with gorgonzola & caramelized onions paired with Cabernet Sauvignon

The Best Wine Pairings for Lamb

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is an ideal pairing for lamb. The rich tannins and body of Cabernet Sauvignon can hold up against the rich, gamey flavors of lamb. When pairing wine with food, the general rule of thumb is to match the intensity of flavor and texture to create balance:

  • Fat & protein in food pair well with wine with tannic wines
  • Food with strong flavor intensity go well with wines of similar intensity

Italian wines to try if you love Cabernet Sauvignon

There are several Italian wines similar to Cabernet Sauvignon that would make excellent pairings with lamb as well, as discussed in my Instagram Live with sommelier Leslie Rosa of La Dolce Vigna.

Here are the time stamps if you want to jump to a specific topic:

1:30: About Leslie and La Dolce Vigna

5:00: About Cabernet Sauvignon

12:30: Aglianico (Campania / Basilicata)

16:50: Sagrantino (Umbria)

20:19: Nero d’Avola (Sicily)

25:40: Lamb sliders with caramelized onions and Gorgonzola

Lamb burger sliders with gorgonzola & caramelized onions paired with Cabernet Sauvignon

Lamb Sliders with Caramelized Onions and Gorgonzola

Kelly Leonardini
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8 sliders
Calories 75 kcal

Equipment

  • Skillet
  • Kitchen scale (to measure out lamb patties equally)
  • Meat thermometer

Ingredients
  

  • lb ground lamb
  • 4 oz Gorgonzola
  • 2 sweet yellow onions
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar optional
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar or red wine
  • 8 small brioche buns

Instructions
 

To caramelize the onions

  • Dice the onions OR cut them into strips if you prefer. (I have tried both ways and prefer to dice the onion. Otherwise, I end up with stringy onions hanging out of my mouth taking a bite – not too charming lol). *See notes for link to onion cutting tutorial.
  • Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. (You could also use extra virgin olive oil or a combination of oil and butter). When the butter starts to foam, add the onion and turn down the heat to low.
  • Sprinkle a little salt to taste.
  • The key to perfectly caramelized onions is to cook them low and slow for the next 30-40 minutes. Stir the onions every so often, allowing for them to develop some golden color, but not burn. If the pan gets too dry, add a little water a tablespoon at a time to prevent the onions from burning. Adding water instead of more butter or oil keeps the onions from getting too greasy.
  • If desired add a little brown sugar to deepen the caramelization.
  • Once the onions are nice and caramelized, deglaze the pan with a splash of balsamic vinegar or red wine (the one that you'll be pairing with your lamb sliders, of course! 😉 ).
  • Set the onions aside until the sliders are ready to assemble.

Make the lamb patties

  • Divide the ground lamb into 8 equal parts (2 ounces each) with a kitchen scale.
  • Form patties by making a ball and pressing it down.
  • Season the lamb patties with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a pan with some extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.
  • Cook the lamb patties for 3-4 minutes on each side, until the internal temperature reaches at least 145 Fahrenheit for medium-rare or 160 Fahrenheit for medium. Cooking the lamb well-done (180 Fahrenheit) will make it too tough and dry.

Assemble the lamb sliders

  • Toast the brioche buns with a little butter in a pan if desired.
  • Layer the lamb patty, gorgonzola, and caramelized onions.
  • Pair with Cabernet Sauvignon, or another recommended Italian wine.

Nutrition

Sodium: 212mgCalcium: 82mgVitamin C: 2mgVitamin A: 152IUSugar: 2gFiber: 1gPotassium: 78mgCholesterol: 14mgCalories: 75kcalTrans Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 4gFat: 6gProtein: 3gCarbohydrates: 3gIron: 1mg
Keyword burgers, Gorgonzola, lamb, onions
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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