Lamb burgers once were something I liked to order when eating out but rarely prepared at home. Now I’m hooked on my homemade version. Loaded with fresh herbs and a few dried spices, the lamb mixture can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator all day before cooking in a cast-iron skillet or on a grill. I use a little pork to mellow the lamb flavor and add some extra fat to the mixture. I skip the bun and serve the burgers on a bed of greens with herbed yogurt sauce, but the burgers can be served on traditional buns, if you like.
- ½ red onion thinly sliced
- 6 tbsp lime juice
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp raw cane sugar
Herbed Yogurt Sauce
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 2 tbsp finely chopped mixed herbs such as dill, parsley, and mint
- Kosher salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ red onion finely diced
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 8 oz ground pork
- 3 tbsp finely chopped mint
- 2 tbsp finely chopped dill
- 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Mixed greens, sliced tomatoes (optional if nightshade-sensitive), and sliced cucumbers for serving
- To make the pickled onions: Place the onion, lime juice, salt, and sugar in a small bowl. Stir to combine, cover, and let sit at room temperature for about 2 hours to soften. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- To make the herbed yogurt sauce: In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, herbs, and 1/2 tsp salt. Adjust the salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, or for up to 2 days.
- To make the lamb burgers: In a small skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a small plate to cool.
- In a large bowl, combine the lamb, pork, mint, dill, parsley, garlic, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, and cooled onions. Gently mix with your hands. Do not overwork the meat. Divide the mixture into six equal balls. Press into patties and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. (If not cooking immediately, cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.)
- Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Working in batches, sear the burgers until well browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare, or about 5 minutes per side for well-done. Alternatively, prepare a grill for cooking over medium-high heat. Lightly grease the grill grate. Place the burgers on the grill, and cook, turning once, to reach desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare, or about 5 minutes per side for well-done.
- Transfer the burgers to a plate to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Top with a generous dollop of herbed yogurt sauce and some pickled onions. Add greens and sliced tomatoes or cucumbers. Serve immediately.
How to season burger patties: Seasoning meat well is so important. Many times we under-or overseason, then cook the meat and are left with no chance of improving it. Before shaping my patties, I heat a small skillet and cook a test patty, about 1 in [2.5 cm] in diameter, to check for flavor. I adjust the salt and spices if necessary before I form all the patties and cook them.
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