Today I’m going to share my recipe for Greek Lamburgers. I’m especially proud of this recipe because. . . I invented it!
Just look at that deliciousness.
Are you drooling yet? I know I am! These are seriously one of my favourite burgers to make (and eat!). Not only do they always turn out moist, juicy, and full of flavour, but they are no more difficult than any other burger to make, and I almost always have the ingredients on hand.
But enough of the food fotos. Let’s get to the recipe!
(Although I call these “Lamburgers,” they are also quite excellent made with ground beef or venison. Feel free to swap one for the other, especially since ground lamb tends to be harder to find, and is more expensive).
Makes 6 Burgers
• 900g lean ground lamb (or venison, or beef)
• 2 eggs
• 4 oz/110 g feta cheese
• Eight 3″ long stems of fresh mint, leaves only *see below for more info
• Half a white/yellow onion or 2-3 shallots, cut in chunks
• 2 cloves garlic, sliced roughly
• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
• 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
• 1/2 tsp. anise seed (optional)
Place the ground meat and 2 eggs in a mixing bowl large enough to contain everything, with extra room for stirring.
Put all other ingredients in a food processor and purée. Add this mixture to the ground meat in the bowl.
Mix everything together thoroughly. My Mom uses her hands, but I like to use a fork because I hate touching raw meat!
Divide the meat mixture into 6 equal portions, and form each of these portions into a hamburger patty. I use a Weber hamburger former** to compact everything together firmly in neat little circles. I used to use a Tupperware one, but it was so small that I had to make very thick patties and then use my hands to squish the patties a bit more and make them thinner. (Again, touching raw meat = gross.) Keep in mind that burgers shrink when cooking, so you want to make the patties a bit bigger than the buns they are going to go on.
Place the patties on a plate or in a container, stacking as needed, and separating the stacks with pieces of parchment paper (which it is handy to have pre-cut, since your hands will be all gross and meaty). Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before grilling. You may also fry these in a skillet, but trust me, grilling is WAY better.
*This is what I’m talking about when I say a “3 inch long stem of fresh mint.” I grow my own mint, you see, and I have found that sometimes store-bought fresh mint is “leggy” from being grown in a greenhouse. That is, there is more stem length between the leaf pairs, so that a 3″ stem of store-bought mint, or even your own windowsill-grown mint, could have fewer actual leaves, resulting in you not using enough mint in the recipe. Therefore, as you can see in the photo, you need three pairs of mint leaves per stem, plus the bit growing at the tip. It doesn’t matter whether you use Peppermint or Spearmint, but fresh really is best. If it’s the dead of winter and you really want to make these Greek burgers, you may substitute 8 tsp. of dried mint, or the contents of 4 mint tea bags, if you can’t find fresh mint in the grocery stores.
While the Lamburger patties are chilling, make the Tzatziki Sauce. (Isn’t that a fun word? Tzatziki-tzatziki-tzatziki!) Traditional Tzatziki contains garlic, which I have omitted from my version. Why? Because while I am a huge fan of garlic, my husband is not. Since the burgers already have garlic in them, I compromised.
Makes enough for 6 burgers, plus a bit extra for dipping
• Half an english cucumber, roughly chopped
• Four 5-6″ stems of mint, leaves only
• 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
• 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
Purée the cucumber and mint leaves in a food processor. Place a sieve over a bowl and strain the cucumber-mint purée. Stir occasionally to assist the draining process. Important: do not allow the mixture to strain for more than 20 minutes, or it will begin to oxidize and turn brown. This does not affect the taste, but it does affect the visual appeal. Also, although dried mint may be substituted for fresh in the Lamburgers, it really doesn’t work in the Tzatziki.
When finished draining, fold the cucumber-mint mixture into the Greek yogurt, along with the salt and olive oil. Refrigerate until ready to use.
I always make a double batch of Tzatziki. Not only does it nicely use up the entire cucumber, but my family loves it so much that it’s always gone by the end of the next day!
(If you want, you can mix the drained liquid with at least 4 cups of water. It makes a refreshing drink that is naturally coloured green. Great for St. Patrick’s day! You must drink it within 6 hours though, or it goes bad. I usually serve some to my kids with the burgers at dinnertime. They love it!)
Now it’s time to grill those Lamburgers! The following directions detail what my husband does with his Weber grill. He nails them pretty much every time, so it’s good advice.
Preheat your grill to 650-700 degrees F. When ready, place the raw patties on the grill, close the lid, and immediately turn all burners down to low. The temperature should drop to 500 degrees. Grill the burgers for 5-7 minutes on one side (if the weather is hot, the cooking time will be closer to 5 minutes; if it is windy or cooler, it will be more like 7). Flip the patties, and grill for 3-4 minutes, keeping the heat at 500 F. The burgers are done when they are no longer pink in the middle. You can use a thin knife to cut into the biggest one and take a peek, if you’re unsure. You do not, however, want a burger that is OVERdone and totally dried out. So only flip the burgers once, and don’t mash or otherwise fiddle with them while they cook. Just close the lid, set your timer, and walk away!
Of course, results will vary with different weather conditions and different grills. My husband HIGHLY recommends the Weber brand, and is particularly happy with his six-burner Weber Genesis.**
To assemble these delectable Greek Lambburgers, place a grilled patty on a bun, and top with a generous amount of Tzatziki and the other half of the bun. Voila! No other condiments needed!
Ohhhhhhhhh, yeah. . .
I should mention that a layer of Tapenade is also very tasty on these burgers. Or you can mix 1/4-1/2 cup of the stuff directly into the meat mix before you shape the patties. I use Mark Bittman’s recipe from “How to Cook Everything,” which is a truly excellent cookbook (and App!)**
Time to bite into that awesomeness!
Mmmmmmmmmmm! I hope you enjoy these burgers as much as I do! If something isn’t clear in my recipe or directions, please leave me a comment below and I’ll do my best to help you.
(That’s Greek for “Bon Appétit”)
**I receive no compensation at all for promoting certain items or brands.