As Ex-Pats in the Middle East for a number of years, we became quite familiar with shawarma stands on the street corners. For about a buck, they were the ultimate street snack. Contrary to popular opinion stateside, the most authentic ones did not have tomatoes or onions as is usually assumed in Americanized versions, but actually included pickles and French fries within the pita pocket. This is an easy burger variation on that unique delicacy using ground lamb as an authentic middle eastern ingredient.
2 lbs of ground lamb
1 cup rinsed and chopped fresh cilantro
one third cup minced red onion
one third cup pine nuts
2 teaspoons garlic salt
3 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons red pepper
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons tumeric
one third cup tahini
2 tsp red pepper
one half cup mayo
2 tbs lemon juice
one half lb crispy thin cut French fries
2 medium dill pickles (thinly sliced)
1 cup of crumbled Feta cheese
6 Pita Pockets
– Combine ground lamb with next 9 ingredients, mix well and divide into six patties; cover with plastic wrap and set aside
– In a small bowl combine the tahini, mayo, red pepper and lemon juice. Mix well to a creamy consistency, set aside
– Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
– Coat a small heavy, non-stick, fire-proof skillet with cooking spray and arrange French fries evening within pan. Fry until barely golden brown and then move off heat.
– Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, about 5 minutes on each side for medium..
– Place the pita pockets, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly during the last 2 minutes of grilling.
– At the same time, return French fries to heat. Spread one half of tahini mixture over the top of each burger and sprinkle feta cheese evenly over each.
– Remove the pitas from the heat, open them up, and spread the remaining tahini mixture over the bottom of each. Divide the French fries and lay them over the tahini. Cover the top of the burger with the sliced pickles and then carefully slide the burger into the pita on top of the French fries.