Lamb burger with feta cheese
If you've never tried ground lamb burgers, you're missing out on a wonderful experience.
Lamb is more tender than beef or pork, and therefore has a tendency to char and burn quickly. You'll need to cook it over a lower heat than you usually would for beef burgers if you're cooking on the stove top, or over indirect heat if you're using an outdoor grill.
Lamb is packed with protein and is a healthy alternative to beef. The Mediterranean flavors in the seasonings and assorted toppings pairs well with it. Instead of regular buns, substitute pita bread or rosemary bread.
Some of my favorite accompaniments for any of these burgers are thinly sliced red onions, crumbled Feta cheese, finely chopped Kalamata olives, baby spinach, sliced tomatoes and sliced cucumbers.
I've included two quick and easy versions of tzatziki sauce, which is simply a combination of Greek yogurt, herbs and seasonings.
Pan-Grilled Lamb Burgers
2 pounds ground lamb
1 cup finely chopped baby spinach
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon McCormick Mediterranean Seasoning Blend
A few grinds of black pepper
Lightly mix the ingredients together, divide into six portions and then gently shape into patties.
Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Add the patties, a few at a time and cook on each side, about 5 to 6 minutes, until the internal temperature is 160 degrees. I served on toasted whole wheat buns with tzatziki sauce.
Lamb in Pita Pockets
Think of these pita sandwiches as Greek Sloppy Joes. Light, fresh and healthy, these are a great alternative to work into the weeknight menu rotation.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped mint leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 pita pockets
In a large skillet, the oil over medium heat. Add the lamb and, stirring occasionally, cook until lamb is no longer pink. Remove from the heat. Add the oregano, thyme, cinnamon and mint, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Toast pita bread and fill with lamb mixture. Have plenty of the toppings mentioned above to fill up those pitas!
Grilled Lamb Burgers with Rosemary Bread
I served this version open-faced on grilled rosemary bread purchased at a local bakery. The density of the bread held up great against the burger and the toppings.
1 pound ground lamb
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
2 teaspoons minced garlic
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat a gas grill or prepare a charcoal grill.
Combine lamb with oregano, mint and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Shape the mixture into four patties. Grill over indirect heat 5 minutes or so on each side to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.
When the burgers are almost done, slice the rosemary bread into thick slices and coat with a thin layer of olive oil. Grill on both sides until browned. Place burgers on the grilled bread, top with tzatziki sauce, and add your favorite toppings.
Tzatziki Sauce Version 1
1 (5.3-ounce) container plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon McCormick Mediterranean seasoning blend
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon lime zest
1/4 teaspoon chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Place all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine.
Tzatziki Sauce Version 2
8 ounces plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh mint
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients. Chill until ready to serve.