Lamb Burgers. Yummy, yummy! Lamb Burgers. Yummy, yummy!
It’s Lamb Burger Night! Everybody sing along!
About a year ago, my husband walked into the room, with a copy of my Food and Wine magazine in his hands and a goofy grin on his face. He was excitedly pointing at the picture on the cover; a picture of what he’d assumed was a gyro, in burger form. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be something completely different (Beef and Lamb Burgers with Cheddar and Caper Remoulade). But, the seed had been planted. A gyro burger! Yes, I could totally make a gyro burger! We realize now, that the idea of a gyro burger isn’t exactly a novel one, but for us, in that moment, we had discovered a map to the holy grail.
Meat Thoughts (I sure never thought I’d say that!) - I have seen other recipes for lamb burgers, which use a part lamb, part beef combination. I use 100% lamb in this recipe. The choice is yours. If you don’t care for the taste of lamb, go ahead and use a half lamb, half beef mixture. Don’t like lamb at all or perhaps you follow a vegetarian diet? Then, try this recipe with beef, turkey, or even a veggie burger. Your supermarket may carry ground lamb or lamb patties, which are likely made from ground lamb breast or flank. They are a convenient choice, but an even better option would be to ask your butcher to grind a lamb shoulder for you. It’s a tasty cut of meat, perfect for burgers. Or, as a leaner alternative, ask for ground loin or leg of lamb.
Personally, I prefer to grind my own lamb. I am the proud owner of my very own food grinder attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer, which I acquired under the direst of food emergencies. It happened one evening, during a visit from my brother-in-law. In the course of conversation, my husband mentioned the delicious lamb burgers he’s been enjoying. Almost instantly, the lure of the lamb burger took hold and a full on hunt for ground lamb was underway. Only, all of the local butcher shops had closed by that time. After visiting multiple supermarkets in a fruitless search for ground lamb, my husband and his brother returned home with a food grinder and a bag full of meat. I love it when my husband’s cravings result in a new piece of cookware for my kitchen! (Just have to figure out how to get that tandoor oven!) So, lately I grind most of my own lamb. The benefit is that I have the ability to trim the meat to my liking, choose what cuts I grind, and I am assured the freshest product (sans raising lamb in my backyard, which I’d never have the heart to handle anyway).
Without further ado…
Greek Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce
- Pita Pockets
For the Lamb Burgers:
- 1 pound Ground Lamb
- 1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
- 1/2 Tbsp Rosemary
- 1/2 cup Feta Cheese (optional)
- Salt and Pepper
For the Tzatziki Sauce:
- 7 ounce container Greek Yogurt
- 1/2 large, seedless English Cucumber or 1 large cucumber, seeds removed
- 2 tsp Minced Garlic
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Romaine Lettuce Leaves
- Slice of Tomatoes
- Slice of Red Onions
For the Tzatziki Sauce: Place a piece of cheesecloth in a bowl. Using a box grater, grate the cucumber into the cheesecloth. Use the cheesecloth to lift the grated cucumber out of the bowl. Squeeze excess liquid out of the cucumber. Discard the cucumber liquid. Combine grated cucumber with the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
For the Burgers: Combine ground lamb with seasonings and cheese (optional). Mix just enough to evenly disperse seasonings. Gently form the meat into large, flat burgers big enough to fit the pita. To cook, grill or broil, flipping as necessary until it reaches a temperature of 160 degrees, as measured with a meat thermometer inserted in the middle. **Ground meats, of any kind, are typically not the best choice for cooking rare or medium-rare. Unlike roasts and other non-ground cuts of meat, where the surface bacteria is killed during cooking, the bacteria in ground meat has been dispersed throughout. Unless you can be absolutely certain about the freshness and safe-handling of the lamb before and after grinding, it is safest to cook to a minimum temperature of 160 degrees.
To assemble the burgers: Carefully cut around the edge of the pita to split it into two pieces. Line the bottom with romaine lettuce, tomatoes and onions. Place the burger on top of the garnish and top with tzatziki sauce.
Serve with a side salad of mixed spring greens and a little feta in a lemony vinaigrette.
(Makes about 3 generous sized burgers.)
Are you singing yet???