Karbonader (karbonade in singular) are traditional Norwegian meat patties typically made from beef or veal, which are coarsely ground and then pan-fried. As a general rule, the meat should contain no more than 6 percent fat to highlight the pure beef. When access to quality meat was limited and costly, karbonade was considered a dish reserved for Sundays and special occasions. Nowadays, it’s a common option and often served with a side of carmelized onions.
When autumn arrives, it’s lamb season and I like to deviate from the traditional beef karbonader and make these lamb patties with fresh herbs, despite the percentage of fat not keeping within the traditional percentage. The flavor is rich and delicate, reflecting the mountain grazing, which is deeply rooted in the farming tradition of the country.
Lamb also pairs really well with red beets, so it felt natural to make a version of the traditional red beet salad (rødbetesalat) and keep this dish lighter than its traditional counterpart. Serve these lamb patties on a bed of salad leaves and raw red onion for a delicious autumn meal.
Lamb Patties with Red Beet Salad (karbonader av lam med rødbetesalat)
Makes 10 patties
For the lamb patties:
- 1 ¾ pounds (800 g) ground/minced lamb meat (lamkjøttdeig)
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- Handful of parsley (roughly 1/2 cup or 8 g) finely chopped
- Handful of mint (roughly 1/2 cup or 8 g) finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon potato starch
- 1 tablespoon butter
For the red beet salad:
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 5 ounces (140 g) pickled beets, cut into small pieces
- Mixed greens
- Raw red onion slices
For the patties, in a food processor, pulse the ground lamb, salt, pepper, onion, parsley, mint, and potato starch, for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until smooth. Have a bowl of warm water nearby. Dip a large spoon in the water then use the spoon to scoop the meat and use your hands to form 10 patties about 4/5 inch (2 cm) thick.
In a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. When the butter is starting to foam, add half of the patties and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes before turning the patties and cooking the other side for another 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the patties to a serving dish and cover with foil to keep them warm. Continue cooking the remaining patties the same way.
For the red beet salad, in a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and heavy cream. Add the chopped pickled beets and stir to combine until completely incorporated.
To serve, place the lamb patties on a bed of greens with the raw onion slices and a good dollop of the red beet salad on top of each patty. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve immediately.