Middle Eastern Magic Carpet Ride Burgers

Pairs well with:

Sauvignon Blanc

With hints of passion fruit, melon, and citrus, this wine beckons you to kick back and find a perfect porch swing.


Zesty Yogurt Sauce:
1 cup plain Middle Eastern-style yogurt
1/2 Persian cucumber, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, minced
Salt Freshly ground black pepper
4 medium Italian eggplants, washed
1/2 cup tahini
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1/2 pound soujouk (Armenian sausage), diced (or use any Middle Eastern-style sausage)
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
12 Middle Eastern flatbreads, cut into circles 3 to 4 inches in diameter



Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. To make the zesty yogurt sauce, combine the yogurt, cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, and mint in a bowl. Mix well. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until serving. To make the babaghanoush, poke holes in the eggplants with a fork. Place the eggplants on the grill, turning every 5 minutes to evenly char the skin. Grill until just soft and charred all over, about 20 minutes. Remove from the grill and cool. Place a colander over a bowl or sink. Trim the ends off of the eggplants and split each eggplant lengthwise. Scoop out all of the pulp with a spoon and place the pulp in the colander. Let the pulp drain for 5 minutes. Place the pulp in the bowl of a food processor. Add the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil and pulse until coarsely ground. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate until serving. To make the patties, place a small fireproof non-stick skillet on the grill. Add the cumin and coriander seeds. Cook and stir about 2 minutes until fragrant. Place the seeds in a spice mill (or coffee grinder). Process until a fine powder is formed. Place the soujouk (Armenian sausage) in the bowl of a food processor and process just until coarsely ground. Transfer the ground spice mixture and the soujouk to a large bowl. Add the beef, garlic, cilantro, mint, 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 flatbreads. Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, just until done, about 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. During the last few minutes of cooking, place the flatbreads, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly. To assemble the burgers, place a generous amount of the babaghanoush over the cut sides of the flatbreads. On 6 of the flatbreads, place a patty and an equal amount of zesty yogurt sauce on top of the patties. Add the other 6 flatbreads on top and serve. Makes 6 burgers.