Saturday, February 6, 2010

Merguez Lamb Burger on Pita

I was shopping at Bloomingdale's today and we stopped in at FLIP to grab a milkshake.  There was an Eastern Burger with an exotic lamb blend, herbal yogurt dressing and a tandoori onion ring, rolled in naan flatbread.  That got me thinking.  I had been planning on serving a Greek-inspired lamb burger with feta cheese, spinach, red onion and a play on tzatziki sauce, but that Eastern Burger sounded way better.  So after a successful conclusion to our shopping trip, I decided to make a play on a merguez sausage kebob/burger that I would wrap in some nice pita I purchased on Thursday.  But I decided to go ahead and use the spinach and shaved red onion that I had been planning on using with my Greek burger.  And then I made a sauce for the burger with the Greek yogurt I had been saving, mixed with harissa and lemon juice.  So good!  I love burgers, but this recipe is one of my most successful for a first time attempt.

Recipe after the jump!
Merguez Lamb Burger on PIta

1 lb ground lamb
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika
1 cup baby spinach, cleaned
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 tbsp Harissa paste
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3 pitas or flatbreads

Heat a medium saute pan over medium heat.  Add 1 tbsp vegetable oil.  Once the oil warms up, add diced red onion and minced garlic.  Saute onion and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes.  Allow to cool.  Mix ground lamb with onions, garlic, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, cumin, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, paprika and 1 tsp vegetable oil.  Take care not to over-mix the meat.  Form meat into three long, skinny patties in the form of kafta kabobs.  Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  Add lamb burgers/kabobs to the grill pan.  Brown on all four sides, about 1-2 minutes per side.  Take burgers off the pan and allow to rest while preparing the rest of the ingredients. 

Stir together Greek yogurt, Harissa, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Toast 3 pitas lightly in the oven.  Serve burgers on pitas smeared with the Harissa-yogurt mixture and then topped with spinach and red onions.

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