Gently Seasoned Lamb Burgers + Minty Cucumber Yogurt

Sometimes it's too hot to cook outside. This weekend after a Saturday swim meet, followed by a late afternoon at the pool; then Sunday golf in 100+ heat index - there were not going to be burgers on the grill.

Yet most methods for indoor grilling / broiling are ineffective, or messy or both - accompanied by average or below average result, such as lack of that char that is the whole point of grilling.

So if you're committed to indoor cooking, and know it's going to be a little "softer", why not soften up the ingredients too.

Lamb burgers are not unusual, but typically are loaded up with herbs, spices and garlic, especially to match the intensiveness of high-heat grilling.

In this recipe, I soften up the burgers by using very few seasonings, and soften up the lamb by mixing 50/50 lamb and pork. THEN, we let the vegetables and Tzatziki (cucumber yogurt sauce) take over to set the cool, fresh tone.

I also like theo crispiness of grilled Chiabatta rolls. That adds back in a little of the traditional outdoor grilling style.

The burgers are on the very small side - which allows them to be cooked quickly in a ridged grill pan, get browned, but also not make an incredible indoor mess. Each burger was served on half a grilled Chiabatta rolled, cut diagonally into a triangle.

Gently Seasoned Lamb Burgers

4 crusty Chiabatta rolls
2-3 plum tomatoes
1 large cucumber
A few handfuls of mixed greens
1 pound ground lamb
1 pound ground pork
1.5 teaspoons garlic, very finely chopped
Juice of one lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Optional: Add one medjool date, finely chopped, for each patty, prior to cooking. 

  1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a ridged grill pan over medium high heat.
  2. Slice Chiabatta rolls and grill cut side down until lightly browned. Flip and allow outside to be heated slightly - a few seconds or so is all. Cut rolls diagonally. 
  3. Slice tomatos, cucumbers and rinse greens. 
  4. Combine remaining ingredients to form 9 or 10 small balls. Gently press each ball into a small patty. 
  5. Over medium high heat, grill 4 or 5 patties at a time, up to 4 minutes per side. Reduce heat slightly once there is some good brown color on the patty. 

Minty Cucumber Yogurt Sauce - Tzatziki

1/2 cup of cucumber, mostly peeled, cut into very small pieces
2/3 cup of plain greek yogurt
6-8 leaves of fresh mint, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
Juice of half a small lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients. If you have time, salt the cucumber pieces and let drain in a strainer for 20-30 minutes.

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