Marrakesh Lamb Burgers with Apricot Labneh and Grilled Halloumi
I love the food of Morocco.When you combine the unique fragrance of the spices and some fruity goodness, you truly get some delicious North African flavors. Add in some unique Middle Eastern cheeses, halloumi and labneh, and you’ll have yourself a burger that hits every one of your taste buds.
Moroccan Couscous Salad:
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons finely chopped prunes (or raisins)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/8 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
Large pinch salt
Pinch garam masala
3/4 cup quick-cooking couscous
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2/3 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup canned chickpeas (drained and rinsed), chopped
3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1 cup water
1/4 cup dried apricots
1 cup labneh (yogurt cheese)—can substitute Greek Yogurt
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
12 ounces Halloumi Cheese, cut into 6 slices
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 pounds ground lamb
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed and finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 country potato hamburger buns, split (or regular potato hamburger buns)
2 cups store-bought plain pita chips, lightly broken (e.g., Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips)
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
To make Moroccan Couscous Salad, add water, prunes, garlic, ginger, salt, and garam masala to a small fireproof saucepan; bring to a boil. Add couscous; cover and remove from heat. After five minutes, transfer mixture to a medium mixing bowl. Add olive oil and lemon juice; fluff couscous with a fork. Stir in carrot, chickpeas, and mint.
To make Apricot Labneh, place water in a small fireproof saucepan; bring to a boil. Add apricots and remove from heat. Let rest for 15 minutes. Drain; chop apricots. In the bowl of a food processor, combine apricots, labneh, garlic, and lemon juice. Puree. Set aside.
To make Grilled Halloumi, brush halloumi with olive oil. Place slices on grill and cook 2 minutes per side. Remove from grill. Sprinkle with lemon juice.
To make the patties, combine the lamb, onion, ginger, garlic, parsley, garam masala, cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Handling the mixture 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 vegetable 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 the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.
To assemble the burgers, spread a generous amount of Apricot Labneh over the cut sides of the buns. On each bun bottom, place a patty, a slice of Grilled Halloumi, a generous serving of Moroccan Couscous Salad, and equal amounts of pita chips. Add buns tops and serve.
Makes 6 burgers.