Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Gyros Burgers

Let me tell you, when you buy a whole lamb every year, you start getting creative with recipes. It used to be that lamb chops were a luxury item, and a leg of lamb was company dinner. I went with foolproof recipes because I didn't want to mess up something that was so special.

Now, lamb is a lot less special. It gets experimented with a lot more.

This time, I pulled out a couple packages of lamb stew meat, which is really just the little bits that are trimmed from the roasts and chops and other parts.

I divided the meat in half and ran the meat through my grinder and seasoned that first half with the same spices I use when I make gyros meat. I made patties, cooked them in a cast iron pan, and served them on buns with tzaitziki sauce and chopped tomatoes and onion, just like regular gyros.

They were good, but they weren't spiced enough, so I went back to the drawing board for the second batch. This time, I ran the onion and the garlic and spices through the grinder along with the meat the night before I cooked it. I figured that the bashing the spices up and grinding the onion and garlic would disperse the flavor through the meat even better, and the overnight rest inside the meat would hydrate the dry herbs and bring out more flavor. I also added a little more of the herbs than what I had in the first batch.

In the summer, I'd be more likely to make this with garden-fresh herbs, but this time of year, the dried herbs had to suffice.

No doubt about it, the second batch was better, so that's the recipe you're getting here.

Obviously, you don't have to grind your own lamb meat - I've seen it at the grocery store. But the stuff I've seen at the store is pretty lean, so you might consider adding a bit more fat to the burgers - either some fatty ground beef or even some pork fat. You could also make this with a combo of half lamb and half beef, but from my experiments with gyros, I think it's better with all - or mostly - lamb instead of a combo.

Gyros Burgers

1 1/4 pounds ground lamb
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
1 tablespoon dried Greek oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons dried rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

If you don't have a meat grinder, chop the onion and garlic very finely, or grate them. Or give them a whirr in your food processor. We liked these much better when the onions were incorporated in the burgers rather than being discrete pieces, but it's up to you.

Combine all of the ingredients, and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, form the meat into patties. I made 4 patties from this amount, but make them your preferred size. To keep the patties from turning into thick meatball-like things, I always make a divot in the center of each patty. That way when the burger cooks and the center expands, the patty ends up flat instead of fat in the center. Cook to your preferred doneness in a hot cast iron pan, a grill pan, or on the grill.

Serve on buns with tzaitziki sauce, tomatoes, and chopped onions.

Oh - and yes that's a home made bun. Stay tuned, a recipe will be along for those a bit later.

This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.

1 comment:

Jen said...

since I can't eat beef, I'm always looking for an alternative to turkey for burgers. I will be trying this.

Thanks!

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