These burgers are so simple to make and provide quite a substantial meal too. I found this recipe whilst idly browsing The Australian Women's Weekly's new Food To Love site. The burgers are also so scrumptious. They are good hot and cold. I froze half the burgers and defrosted one, assembled the roll and burger and ate it today. The burger is not as nicely coloured inside as it was when it was freshly cooked, but the taste was not affected. I only really needed to buy some cumin seeds and pine nuts, and it seems Turkish pita bread rolls are readily available in supermarkets, bakeries and the deli at the corner as well.
These took less than no time to make, and you could tweak the recipe to reflect your personal taste. I'd add some lemon zest next time and maybe some of the juice to the yoghurt harissa too. I used lamb mince, but beef or pork would be fine too. I bought 500g of mince and made 4 burgers, so I made 2/3 of the recipe more or less, though I didn't bother with 2/3 of an egg!!!
Oh and you need to have a cup of cooked rice. I always have cooked rice on hand, but it would quite easily cook in the time the other ingredients were being prepared. I found a harissa spice blend and that worked perfectly well.
NB In Australia 1 tablespoon = 4 teaspoons.
Lebanese Lamb Burgers serves 6
- 1 tbspn cumin seeds
- 80g (1/2 cup) pine nuts
- 800g lamb mince
- 1 onion, finely chopped. I prefer a red onion.
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 egg
- 1 cup cooked rice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbspn olive oil
- 1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
- 1 tbspn harissa
- 6 Turkish pita bead or rolls
- 2-3 large tomatoes, sliced
- 2 large Lebanese cucumbers, cut into thin ribbons
Heat a large saucepan, or non-stick pan, over medium-high heat and toast the pine nuts and the cumin seeds. You will know they are ready because they become amazingly fragrant. The nuts should be slightly browned, but you can't tell with the colour of the cumin seeds, so trust your nose. Grind in a mortar and pestle, or food processor. I just chopped with my sharp knife and it worked perfectly well.
I used a rectangular container to mix the burgers, because I was able to make very evenly sized burgers and that way they cook evenly too. Add the nuts and spices, onion, garlic, rice, egg, mince, salt and pepper.
Use slightly wet clean hands and mix together well. Divide into 6 equal portions. I divided mine into 4 equal parts as I used less mince. Shape the burgers to fit your bread rolls. Also remember that the burgers will shrink slightly when they cook, so make them slightly larger than you think you need to.
Heat the oil in a non-stick pan over a medium-high heat. I used an ordinary saucepan, because I find the high sides stop the oil from spitting when I fry. As long as the heat is high enough, the burgers seal and don't stick. Cook for 6-7 minutes on each side. I may have cooked this one a little too much, but I rather like well done, but not burnt. Set the burgers aside to rest.
Mix the yoghurt and harissa. Split the bread rolls and just toast the inside. Or not, if you prefer.
Now assemble the burgers: lay the bottom of the roll and then the lettuce and a burger.
Top with tomato, ribbons of Lebanese cucumber and the harissa yoghurt and then pop on the top of the roll. And you are done.