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2 burger rolls (I prefer simple sesame ones)
1 pound of ground lamb
1/2 small red onion, cut cross-wise and peeled
3 ounce piece of feta cheese (try and get the Greek kind made from goat and sheep milk), very thinly sliced
Two small handfuls of baby arugula
1-2 teaspoons of Le Poivre
Make two 8-ounce patties from the lamb (if you're not feeling as hungry make 6-ounce patties and save the rest for putting in with pasta sauce or a casserole), season both sides liberally with salt and Le Poivre.
Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise of the cut sides of both buns.
Heat two skillets or a two-burner griddle over medium high heat. Grill the buns face-down until golden brown, then set aside on a cutting board or plate.
Add a small bit of olive oil to each skillet and cook one burger in each, slightly off to the side of the skillet. When it comes time to flip (after about 2 minutes you'll form a nice crust), flip onto the other side of the skillet which will still be hot. Continue to flip this way every minute or two until you reach your desired level of doneness. generally I find 4-5 minutes is rare, 6-7 is medium, 8 and up is well.
Place some arugula on the bottom bun, top with the burger, feta, another sprinkle of Le Poivre if you like, and the sliced onion.
• Roast some potato wedges (leave the skins on, add to a pot of hot salted water for 10-15 minutes, then drain and dry and toss with olive oil before roasting at 375°F until crispy). Serve with Turkish Ranch dressing:
Mix 1/3 cup of whole milk with 2 teaspoons of vinegar. Put in the microwave for 15 seconds. Add 1/4 cup each sour cream and mayonnaise, dill (fresh or dried), ground cumin, ground garlic, ground onion, black pepper, and sumac. Stir well and taste for seasoning, adding salt if you like.
• This burger is great served in the morning over English muffins, with a fried egg on top and some grilled tomatoes. I usually make two half-size patties when I do this and do a simple green salad with salt, olive oil, and lemon juice. It reminds me a lot of kofte. You can take it even further in that direction by seasoning with a bit of Kibbeh N15.
• Try mixing some pine nuts into the burger patties and making thin 4-ounce patties. Cook on slightly lower heat (the idea is to toast the pine nuts without burning them). Serve them as a double burger. You can dress them the same as usual, or make a yogurt sauce with sumac and cumin and serve topped with the sauce, shredded lettuce, and a squeeze of lemon.
Food images and recipe © Christian Leue
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