Monday, April 11, 2016

Lamb Burgers with Feta-Tzatziki Goodness

We don't have a traditional Easter dinner Chez George. Every year is different, which itself is a tradition. This past Easter we grilled lamb burgers. The entire family and our dinner guest Christina LOVED them. Lucky for Christina we were headed out of town for Spring Break the next day so she got the benefit of two leftover lamb burgers and leftover couscous.

I chose a lamb burger recipe from Food Network and adapted it slightly -- namely increasing the amout of meat by a half pound and adding a little of the Moroccan spice mix ras el hanout, which tastes yummy in lamb dishes. The Food Network knew what it was doing in adding feta to the traditional cucumber and yogurt tzatziki. But it had the name all wrong; it's not just feta-tzatziki spread -- it's Feta-Tzatziki Goodness. It's zat good. (I can feel you rolling your eyes. Don't care. I'm punny.)

When you're tired of regular old burgers this summer, give these lamb burgers a try.


Lamb Burgers with Feta-Tzatziki Goodness
Based on this Food Network recipe

Ingredients for the Lamb Burgers:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 red onions, 1 cut into 1/4 inch dice, 1 sliced for garnish (if desired; nobody in my family likes raw red onion)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of crushed red pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds ground lamb
2 sprigs of fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/2 bunch fresh dill finely chopped (I tried two stores and both were out of fresh dill. I improvised with 1 tablespoon stir-in dill paste and 1 teaspoon dried dill.)
1/2 bunch fresh mint, finely chopped
Zest of 1/2 lemon
4 whole wheat pitas, sliced in half
Fresh Tzatziki-Feta Goodness (recipe follows)
1-2 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced, for garnish
2 cups baby spinach, for garnish

Ingredients for the Tzatziki-Feta Goodness:
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh mint, finely chopped
1 small bunch of fresh dill or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill
1/2 English cucumber, coarsely grated
Kosher salt

Directions for the Tzatziki-Feta Goodness:

Note the chill time and so make this before you start the burgers. Combine yogurt, feta, vinegar,  garlic, mint, dill  and cucumber. Season with salt. Let sit for at least 1 hour at room temperature before serving.

Directions for the Burgers:
Add olive oil, onions, salt and red pepper to large saute pan. Bring pan to medium-high heat and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 4 more minutes. Turn off the heat and let onions cool.

In a large bowl, combine the lamb, cooled onion mixture, oregano, dill, mint, lemon zest and 1/2 to 3/4 cup water.

Lamb is softer than beef and harder to form into patties. Put lamb mixture in fridge for 15 minutes or more until it hardens up a bit.

Preheat grill.

Form the lamb mixture into 6-8 equal patties. Sprinkle with salt if  desired. Grill burgers to your desired doneness -- about 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove the burgers from the grill and let rest for 3 to 4 minutes.

Schmear the top (and bottom, if you like!) of your burger with the Feta-Tzatziki Goodness. Top burger with tomatoes, sliced onions and spinach. Slide into the pita. Note: It might be easier to either cut all sides of the pita so you are not stuffing the burger inside, or cut your burger in half as you would slice a bagel in half.

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