Thursday, March 03, 2011

Lamb Burgers with Fresh Herbs + Spiced Yogurt + Warm Broccoli Salad

By Julie

This dinner nearly turned into a disaster! First, I realized I was out of garlic when I was preparing the yogurt sauce. Then Joe broke the news that we were out of gas for the grill. We had been looking forward to these grilled lamb burgers for days! Despite this, these are probably the best burgers I've ever had. The yogurt did suffer for lack of garlic (and the burgers too, because I would have liked to mix in a clove), but with enough lemon juice and spices, it turned out pretty superb.

The warm broccoli salad I had planned did suffer without the grill, though. I love grilled onions, so I put in extra and I sliced them pretty thick. All this before I heard the no-gas news. Cooked in a sauté pan left they get limp and overwhelming. So if you're without a grill, slice them thinner and half the amount.

If you don't want to make the broccoli side, I won't feel bad. There are lots of vegetables you could make with these burgers that would go together very well. Zucchini and peppers, artichokes, roasted carrots, etc. You could make a light spinach salad with thinly sliced red onions.

The lamb burgers have cilantro, parsley, scallion, and mint in them. I used dried mint, as I had that leftover from a previous recipe. Please feel free to use fresh! I'll be having loads of fresh mint come spring, as my backyard is partially infested with it. Unfortunately though, as I've mentioned before, I have a mint-hater in the house. I have to try and sneak it in. Normally, he doesn't ever notice it. He did, however, notice it in these burgers and claimed to not be too happy about it, but I didn't see that reflected on what was left on the plate, or what wasn't left for that matter. I think it's a food aversion that he likes to think is worse than it is. He's the same with tomatoes, except that it's even sillier with that. He'll eat a fresh caprese that I'll make in the summer with abandon, but will pick out any tomato chunk in a sauce or on pizza. Come ON!

Anyway, enough picky eater venting. These burgers make a great mid-winter dinner. They're very hearty but the herbs and the yogurt make them feel more summery. Best of both worlds! I also served these with a slice of grilled (or grill-panned as was the case) halloumi cheese. It's really expensive, but is SO good. It's a semi-hard, rubbery Greek cheese that is sturdy enough to grill. You sprinkle lemon juice on top of it when you serve it and it is just the best. We scraped off every last little tidbit that clung to the grill pan.

warm broccoli salad with feta, almonds, and olives
makes 4 - 6 servings

3 heads of broccoli, cut into florets, stems chopped
1/2 onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (if you're grilling, make this 1 onion with thicker slices)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup crumbled feta (preferably sheep's milk, but a cow's will do fine)
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
1/3 cup roughly chopped roasted almonds
2 tablespoons drained capers

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large sauté pan on medium heat. Add broccoli and onions, stirring until broccoli is bright green and cooked through, about 10 minutes. You may need to add some water to the pan and cover if you cut your florets rather large (like I did in grill-anticipation).

2. Whisk balsamic vinegar, honey, and other tablespoon oil together. Set aside.

3. When broccoli is crisp-tender, remove from heat and put in a large bowl. Mix in remainder of ingredients and dressing. Salt and pepper to taste.

spiced yogurt sauce

1 cup whole milk yogurt, drained (or Greek yogurt)
juice of one lemon
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon dill
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cumin

Mix all ingredients. Taste and adjust spices to your liking.

lamb burgers with fresh herbs
serves 4

1 pound ground lamb
1/4 cup parsley, thin stems and leaves coarsely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, thin stems and leaves coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons dried mint, crumbled (or a scant 1/4 cup fresh, coarsely chopped)
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon oil

1. Mix herbs and salt and pepper into lamb. Form into 4 patties.

2. Heat oil in a grill pan on medium high heat. Place lamb patties on grill pan and cook for about 5-6 minutes per side, for medium.

Serve the lamb burgers with the broccoli salad on the side and topped with a big dollop of yogurt sauce. If you're feeling fancy, you can get that halloumi cheese and grill it after the lamb burgers are finished. Mmm, cheese grilled in lamb fat!

Originally posted at my blog, the crankin' kitchen!

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