This easy to make spiced lamb burger recipe can be enjoyed in pita, on sesame buns or converted into small meat balls for small plate appetizers.
Makes 3 hamburger size patties.
- 1 pound of pasture raised, local 100% grass-fed ground lamb
- half a medium yellow onion, chopped into a small dice
- 1 tsp whole cumin seed
- finely chopped mint
- fresh oregano or marjoram, chopped
- finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tsp or so of whole grain mustard (made from only whole mustard seeds)
- olive oil
- fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup whole milk plain organic Greek yogurt
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed
- chopped fresh mint to taste
- chopped parsley to taste (optional)
- 1/4 cup or so of crumbled raw milk feta cheese
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped cucumber (peeled and seeded if English hothouse variety)
- Heat oven to 400º F.
- Caramelize onion and cumin seeds in a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Set aside to cool.
- Place ground lamb in mixing bowl and add salt and freshly ground black pepper, a couple tablespoons of chopped mint, a half teaspoon or so of fresh oregano or marjoram ( I prefer marjoram), whole grain mustard and half a teaspoon or so of finely grated lemon zest. Mix well.
- Add cooled cumin/onion mixture and mix in well.
- Form patties or meatballs. Brown patties or balls in some olive oil in a pan. Transfer to baking sheet and place in center of hot oven for 5-10 minutes.
Combine all ingredients, adding lemon juice to taste, and salt if necessary. I usually double this recipe, and use any left over to dress salads or any foods that are made tastier with feta.
Some thoughts on ingredients
Yes, lamb from New Zealand is cheaper, and easily available. Unless you actually live in New Zealand, please do yourself a favor and locate a trusted, responsible source of local lamb.
Sheep are ruminants, and so must be pasture raised and 100% grass-fed. Sustainably and humanely raised local lamb is going to be more costly, but only if you are comparing it to questionably raised lamb from distant places. These products are not equivalent.
Well raised local lamb is expensive, and a special treat to be prepared and shared with great joy and reverence for the work that went into raising the animal and the life that was taken. You can find guidelines for choosing humanely raised meat here
If you can find raw milk feta cheese, give it a try. I prefer raw dairy
to pasteurized, and am lucky to live in dairy country where raw milk from cows, goats and sheep is readily available.
The yogurt sauce can be made with regular, non Greek yogurt, but it won’t be as good, so why bother? Don’t even think about using reduced fat yogurt…or reduced fat anything, for that matter. Eat real, whole food from high quality sources. Yogurt should be made from local organic milk made from cows raised on pasture.
More kitchen inspiration
The New Persian Kitchen
Mediterranean Paleo Cooking
Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die
Autumn Home Makeover