After taking a long hiatus from updating this food blog (I blame med school), I’m back! I’m feeling inspired, so I’m starting a new cooking project. Every week, I’ll be cooking and blogging about meals from a different country. It honestly started because I was craving Greek food and couldn’t find a restaurant around that could satisfy those cravings. My goal is to start out with the familiar and end up cooking cuisine from countries I know little about. Hopefully in the process, I’ll have a better depiction of what people in those countries eat and come up with ways to fuse them with my own cooking. This week, I’m making food inspired by Greece!
Who doesn’t love a good burger? When my boyfriend got me a cast-iron grill pan for Christmas this past year, one of the first things I thought of making was burgers. The burgers I made last night are your regular cast-iron burgers but with some added Greek flair. Ground lamb is used in place of ground beef, and I mixed in a healthy amount of oregano and feta into the patties. On top is a homemade tzatziki sauce, which I feel like is a great tart companion to the ground lamb. While not traditionally Greek, these burgers made a yummy dinner and an even better lunch the next day. Enjoy!
Greek-Inspired Grilled Lamb Burgers
1 pound ground lamb
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup diced onions
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tablespoon oil
4 hamburger buns or rolls
Tzatziki (see recipe below)
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Throw in the garlic cloves and toast until golden-brown on the outside. Remove from the skillet and mince.
In the same skillet, cook onions until translucent and soft. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the ground lamb, crumbled feta cheese, dried oregano, cooked onions, cooked garlic, salt, and pepper. Make sure everything is combined without overworking the meat. Divide ground lamb mixture into quarters and form into patties.
Rub grill pan and place over medium-high heat. When hot, lay the patties on the grill (my grill pan is small, so I could only fit two at a time). Cook for about 4 minutes, then flip and cook for 4 more minutes on the other side. This results in patties cooked medium. Cook more or less for desired doneness.
Meanwhile, heat the same skillet you cooked the onions over medium heat. Lay the hamburger buns down and let toast until golden. When buns are ready, assemble burger, topping with tzatziki and any desired vegetables (my boyfriend had his with sliced tomato and cucumber) and serving more tzatziki on the side if you wish.
(adapted from Miracle Miriam’s recipe on food.com)
1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and diced
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon dill or mint (Optional. I left this out because I’m poor.)
Put diced cucumber in a colander/strainer and sprinkle salt over the top. Place a plate over the top and put a heavy object on top of the plate to press down on the cucumber (I used a full bag of flour). Let sit for 30 minutes. Afterwards, drain and squeeze out excess water with a dishtowel or paper towels.
To a food processor or blender, add the cucumber, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and dill or mint. Blend until smooth. Add to Greek yogurt and stir until combined. Salt to taste. It will look a little more liquidy than the typical tzatziki, but it really thickened up and tasted even better the next day.