Monday, July 5, 2010

Greek Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki

First a quick update: a couple posts ago I said I wasn’t worried about finding another job quickly. Indeed less than a week later I do have a new job, and a better and higher paying one than my previous job that abruptly ended with the closure of the restaurant.

This is the first installment of what may become a regular feature on my blog. I will be posting recipes every one or two weeks, probably on the weekends (this one is coming a little later due to my focus on securing my new job this weekend). I am still deciding whether to keep the recipes sprinkled through this blog or put them in a separate linked blog. If anyone has suggestions about this or has an original recipe to share (ie. NOT from a published cookbook), let me know. As Canada Day was last week and July 4 was yesterday, it is a good time for burgers. While this may be more complicated than just opening a package, it is still a rather easy recipe and I’m sure you’ll find the flavour is well worth the effort.

For the burgers:
3 lbs ground lamb
½ onion, chopped very fine (can use food processor)
½- 1/3 cup feta cheese, cut in small cubes
1 tsp dried mint
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin
2 eggs
1/4 cup chickpea flour (can be found at bulk food or health food stores)
grated zest from 1 lemon
pinch of salt, a few grinds fresh ground pepper

Mix all ingredients together. Your hands are the best tools for this. Form into patties of 1/4 lb each. This will be easier if you keep your hands wet.

For Tzatziki
1 tub balkan or other plain, unsweetened yogurt left to drain in cheesecloth for 2 hours or 1 tub greek yogurt (other yogurts have to have the excess water removed before using, but greek yogurt is thicker and does not need this extra step)
½ cucumber, shredded, squeezed to remove as much water as possible
½ clove garlic, finely grated (can use the full clove if you really like garlic)

Stir cucumber and garlic into yogurt, add salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for at least ½ hour to let the flavours combine.

Cook burgers either on the grill, or in a cast iron pan, for about 5-7 minutes per side (it may work better in the pan. The extra fat in lamb might cause too many flare-ups on a barbeque). Serve in a pita with tzatziki, tomatoes, and greens (I like watercress). It does not need cheese as there is already feta inside the burger.

Additional Notes: If you cannot find chickpea flour, you can use fine Italian-style breadcrumbs, but the texture will be a little different. If you do not want to go through the extra effort of making the tzatziki there are very good ready-made tzatzikis in the deli section of most supermarkets. If you would like to do extra work, you could pit and chop some kalamata olives in the food processor with olive oil to form a basic tapenade and use this as an additional topping.


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