Lamb Burgers

Total Time:
5 hr 30 min
Prep:
25 min
Inactive:
4 hr 15 min
Cook:
50 min

Yield:
4 servings
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 red onions, 1 cut into 1/4-inch dice and 1 sliced for garnish
  • Kosher salt
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely smashed
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
  • 1/2 bunch fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 4 Whole-Wheat Pitas, recipe follows, or 4 seeded hamburger buns
  • Pickled Feta Spread, recipe follows
  • 1 beefsteak tomato, sliced for garnish
  • 2 cups baby spinach, for garnish
  • Whole-Wheat Pitas:
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour, plus a little more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling bowl
  • Pickled Feta Spread:
  • 1 cup champagne vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 mint tea bags
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 fresh mint stems (leaves reserved for something else), optional
  • 3 fresh dill stems, same deal as the mint stems
  • 3 fresh oregano stems, same deal as the mint stems
  • 8 ounces feta, coarsely crumbled
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
Directions
  • Coat a large saute pan with olive oil, toss in the diced onions and season with salt and crushed red pepper. Bring the pan to medium-high heat and cook the onions for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 4 more minutes. Turn the heat off and let cool.

  • In a large bowl, combine the lamb, the cooled onion mixture, the dill, mint, oregano, lemon zest and 1/2 to 3/4 cup water. Sprinkle with salt and combine well. Make a little "tester patty," cook it and taste for seasoning.

  • Preheat the grill.

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

  • Cut the Whole-Wheat Pitas in half. Schmear each half generously with the Pickled Feta Spread. Top one half with a burger, then tomatoes, sliced onions and spinach. Place the other pita half on top.

Whole-Wheat Pitas:
  • In a small bowl, combine the warm water, sugar and yeast and let sit for 15 minutes.

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flours, cumin, salt and cayenne. Add the yeast mixture and the olive oil. Mix on medium speed to combine and knead the dough. It should take 6 to 7 minutes. The dough will be firm and not sticky or tacky.

  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

  • Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

  • Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll into 7-inch rounds (1/4-inch thick). Divide the dough between 2 sheet trays, cover them loosely with a clean tea towel or plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.

  • Bake the pitas for 3 to 4 minutes, then turn the pitas over and bake for 2 more minutes. Let cool and use as desired.

Pickled Feta Spread:
  • Place the vinegar, sugar, salt, tea bags, bay leaf and herb stems, if using, in a small saucepan along with 1 cup water. Heat until the sugar and salt has dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool.

  • Place the feta in a small container. Add the vinegar mixture and be sure that the feta is submerged in the liquid. Let sit for a couple of hours outside the refrigerator if using right away, or in the refrigerator if using in the future.

  • Strain the feta from the pickling liquid and discard the tea bags, bay leaf and stems. Place the feta in a food processor and add the yogurt. Pulse until combined.


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