Get Me to the Greek Lamb Burger
I have been on numerous trips to Greece and I created this burger to capture those the outstanding and very homey Greek food that I tasted on those trips.One of my favorite things on this burger is the Tirokafeteri, a spicy roasted red pepper & feta dip that is delicious. By adding in a whole bunch of other very characteristic Greek ingredients, I hopefully will be able to transport you to the Acropolis in one quick bite!
2/3 cup chopped jarred roasted red pepper
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 large clove garlic
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Eggplant Cucumber Slaw:
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups julienned eggplant (cut eggplant into 1/2-inch thick slices, then cut into 2-inch matchsticks)
1 cup julienned English cucumber
3 tablespoons finely minced kalamata olives
1/3 cup finely minced red onion (soaked in 1 cup water for 10 minutes, then drained)
1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon finely minced fresh dill leaves
8 ounces uncooked sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing and crumbled
Pinch ground cinnamon
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 dried bay leaves
Scant 1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
2 pounds ground lamb
1/4 cup grated fennel bulb
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh dill leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves (or oregano leaves)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Large pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 good-quality potato hamburger buns
Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat.
To make Tirokafeteri, in the bowl of a food processor, combine red pepper, feta cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and cayenne; puree. Set aside
To make Eggplant Cucumber Salad, heat 1/4 cup oil in a large fireproof skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add eggplant. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until cooked through, stirring occasionally. Place on paper towels to drain. When cool, add eggplant, cucumber, red onion, olives, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, dill, and 1 tablespoon oil; mix until well combined.
To make Greek Sausage, heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage, cinnamon, nutmeg, and bay leaves and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add orange rind, garlic, and oregano. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until sausage is browned and cooked through. Discard bay leaves.
To make the patties, in a large mixing bowl, combine lamb, fennel, garlic, dill, marjoram, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the buns.
Brush the grill rack with oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, just until done, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare. During the last few minutes of cooking, place buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.
To assemble the burgers, spread a generous amount of Tirokafeteri on the cut side of the buns. On each bun bottom, place a patty, a layer of crumbles of Greek Sausage, and a generous amount of Eggplant Cucumber Salad. Add bun tops.
Makes 6 burgers.