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Balboa Cafe Lamb Burger on Pumpkin Brioche

This recipe was the winner of a gold medal at the 2002 Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine festival. “Slider” comes from a term used to describe burgers from the Midwest-based White Castle restaurant chain.


Pumpkin Brioche

  • 2 ounces fresh yeast
  • 1 cup warm whole milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 10 ounces bread flour
  • 4 ounces granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 pound cake flour
  • 1 pound bread flour
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 combined fresh savory, thyme, parsley and chives

Lamb Sliders

  • 2 pounds lean ground lamb
  • 6 ounces ground pork fat back
  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Sweet Onion Marmalade

  • 4 large red onions, diced small
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 jalapeno or Serrano pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 cups tawny port
  • 1/4 cup port wine vinegar
  • 1 cup veal stock or other meat stock or broth


  1. Pumpkin Brioche: Combine yeast, milk, honey and flour; cover and let rest 30 minutes. Let rise twice.
  2. Add remaining ingredients. Add more flour if puree is not dry enough. Knead with dough hook until it forms a ball. Dough should not stick to sides of bowl. Cover, let rise two times. Shape as desired. Brush with beaten egg and dust with sea salt.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees F until deep golden brown.
  4. Lamb Sliders: Blend in a bowl together. Form into patties and broil in hot oven until juices run clear.
  5. Sweet Onion Marmalade: Sauté onions in butter on low heat until translucent. Add sugar and cook 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium. Add remaining ingredients and reduce to syrup consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Assembly: Put the lamb “slider” on the pumpkin brioche with the Sweet Onion Marmalade.

Source: Chef Joseph Lakavage, Balboa Caf , Olympic Valley, California

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