I am back in New York right now, visiting my family for the week. I’ve been home but a couple of days and it’s been jam-packed with family, friends, fun and of course – eating. We have yet to fill our faces with a Greek feast, but I know it’s coming, that’s always on my MUST-HAVE list when I am home.
In moving to California over three years ago, I have found myself learning how to recreate some of my most favorite Greek dishes that I grew up eating, as well as many that I didn’t. To me, Greek food is the flavor of family and comfort and it’s the taste of home. Good homemade Greek food is always what I crave when I am feeling homesick and missing my family. Lamb is certainly a Greek favorite and while we traditionally enjoy leg of lamb roasted or grilled, I have really come to love ground lamb, as meatballs, in homemade gyro meat, in moussaka or especially these tasty burgers.
Lamb is common in Middle-Eastern and Greek cuisine and I find it makes some of the tastiest and juiciest burgers. Topped with the delicious, creamy, tart, cool and refreshing tzatziki, the cucumber yogurt sauce, a nice compliment to the charred, juicy burgers. These burgers bring so much Greek flavor from the fresh herbs, the feta cheese and the garlic. These burgers are great served alongside this Greek Potato Salad, a beautiful Greek Salad dressed with my dad’s famous Greek dressing, Greek-Style Roasted Green Beans and Tomatoes or if you are feeling really adventurous, have some Moussaka, too.
- 1 pound grass-fed ground lamb
- 1 garlic clove minced or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2- 4 ounces crumbled sheep's milk feta cheese, (optional)
- 2 cups full fat greek yogurt (you can also use non-dairy yogurt)
- 1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeds removed and finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 tablespoon fresh dill, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- thinly sliced red onion
- lettuce, arugula or spinach
- thinly sliced tomatoes
- additional feta
- tzatziki sauce
- cornichon pickles (or other pickles)
- Make the tzatziki. Drain the yogurt by placing it into a sieve/strainer lined with cheese cloth or several layers of sturdy paper towels, and set over a bowl. Once the yogurt has drained for at least one hour, discard the liquid. Place the chopped cucumber in a tea towel or a bunch or sturdy paper towels and squeeze to remove the liquid; discard the liquid. In a medium bowl, combine the drained yogurt, drained cucumber, garlic, fresh dill, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir well. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. The tzatziki can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.
- Make the burgers. In a large bowl add all of the burger ingredients except the lamb and mix well. Add the ground lamb and with your hands, lightly bring all the ingredients together, being mindful not to overwork the mixture. Form the meat into 4 patties of even thickness.
- Meanwhile, light the grill, clean and lightly grease the grates. Cook the burgers for 5 to 6 minutes per side or until cooked to your desired doneness. Prepare your lettuce wraps or toast your buns, if you are using and you'd like.
- Top each bun bottom or lettuce wrap with a burger. Top with tzatziki and any other desired toppings. Cover with bun tops or additional lettuce, pressing firmly to compact. Enjoy!
You can swap in fresh oregano, parsley, chives or any other fresh herbs, you prefer.
If you can do pita pockets, these would be great in pita, or make the burgers as smaller sliders and do a few per pita pocket.
These burgers can also be pan-fried.