Packed with Greek flavors, these Greek Lamb Burgers with Blistered Tomatoes and Tzatziki Spread sound complicated, but are pretty easy to prepare and will amaze your guests and family.
Are y’all ready for some hamburgers and hot dogs? The group has gotten together to create some amazingly delicious creations for your summertime dining pleasure. I know the hubs and I have been bouncing ideas off one another to get the perfect recipe for lamb burger ever since I signed up to the host the event.
Okay. I just have to say how much I have loved him participating in this process and getting his input in the type of burger we wanted to make. Having him not work at the death job has been great. But then again, he needs to find a job soon. Just saying. But I am enjoying his usual self now that he’s not at that hotel anymore.
We both immediately went to lamb.
I don’t know why. Lamb is definitely not something in my comfort zone, so I surprised myself when I thought of lamb. Then we were toying with a Greek burger that has typical flavors; oregano, rosemary, tzatziki. Which we did add those things to this burger. However, we didn’t go the usual feta or goat cheese route that most do.
You see, one time, on one of the coldest days in winter this year, we wandered the rural country side of Virginia looking for good antique shops. For those that are new or don’t remember, we have a collection of Depression glass and a collection of oil lamps. We also have a motley collection of stemware, but I think he found something he likes better than the mismatches that we have. I know he’s not going to like me calling them that. They go with but aren’t all the same pattern. What would you call them?
Anyway, on this cold day in winter, we went to an antique store and next door to it was a meat shop. Not really a butcher, per se, but a place where you could order meat, cheese, eggs; proteins that are animal based. I can’t remember if we purchased something or not, but I don’t think we did. It was late in the day and if you didn’t place the order already you weren’t getting much. So, we took an order form and I stuck it in the kitchen drawer when we got home. Oh, come on. We all have one of THOSE drawers in the kitchen.
Well, this Saturday, after the house was cleaned, the hubs asked what did I want to do? I didn’t have anything planned and suggested we head to Costco to see if they had ground lamb for the burgers. He suggested we order some meat, hit some antiques shops, and then grab some lunch. So, that’s just what we did. And I have to say that it was one of the best decisions we made that day!
He called to place the order with the meat shop. We had a few questions on how the meat is purchased and in what weight measurements. Could we get individual steaks or did we have to order them by the pound? Can we get 4 brats? Can we get a half a pound of cheese? We ordered ground lab, lamb chops, ribeye steaks, center cut pork chops, bratwurst, fresh polish sausage, Hungarian cured sausage, and two kinds of cheese.
We bought a horseradish cheese and, on a whim, I added the onion cheese. OH.MY.WORD. That onion cheese is da bomb. Seriously. We came home, I vacuum sealed what we weren’t eating by the weekend (some was frozen), sliced up a few nibbles of the Hungarian sausage and we sampled the cheese. It was amazing. I like the onion more than the horseradish but both are so good. And so creamy. And so full of fat, but sometimes you just have to splurge.
As soon as we tasted the cheeses, our path took a slight shift with this burger.
We immediately wanted to incorporate one of the two cheese into the burger recipe. I won out with the onion cheese. So, that left out some of the items we had initially discussed, but opened up for other items to be added to the recipe. Like the blistered tomato topping!
Initially, I went the route of balsamic, caramelized onions or roasted red peppers, but that’s kind of yawn-ish. No offense!! Then I though mushrooms, but he said mushrooms weren’t really Greek were they? I wasn’t sure. So then I thought of the delicious blistered tomatoes I made for SRC once. Granted they were on top of labneh, but still, a tomato is a tomato and they’re used in almost every country across the globe now. Aren’t they? Don’t quote me on that.
So, in addition to this outside the comfort zone lamb and this amazing onion cheese that will sit on top of these tasty blistered tomatoes, this burger will be mixed with just enough ingredients to keep the lamb flavor but add moisture and texture to the burger. Oh yes, dear readers, this burger is KING of all lamb burgers. Remember those roasted red peppers I was telling you about earlier? They’re IN the burger! Along with some shallots, garlic, oregano, thyme, and of course rosemary.
This is definitely NOT a bland burger.
Just to recap, first, there’s blistered tomatoes. These tomatoes are like ketchup on steroids. Some of the heirlooms burst early on and they just complete disintegrated making a luxurious tomato base for the other, thick-skinned, tomatoes to swim in. Then there’s the onion cheese that’s creamy and has intense onion and a rich white cheddar style flavor. Next you have the jacked up lamb burger with it’s onion, garlic, and herb flavor throughout the meat. Finally ,there’s that cool cucumber tzatziki mayonnaise that’s spread on the bottom. Unless you’re a double-sided spreader, then it might be what you taste first.
I know. I’m drooling, too. How can you not?? This is the most delicious burger I’ve ever eaten and coming from someone who has a love hate relationship with lamb, that’s saying something. Now, aren’t you glad I stepped out of my comfort zone??
For the tomatoes:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
- Pinch of saffron
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
For the burgers:
- 2 pound ground lamb
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup minced shallots
- 1/4 cup diced, roasted red peppers
For the Tzatziki Spread:
- 1 cup chopped, peeled cucumber
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 4 slices onion cheddar cheese
- 4 To 6 hamburger buns
- Toppings of choice (lettuce, tomato, red onion, cucumber, etc.)
For the blistered tomatoes:
- Place the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet and heat over high heat. Once the garlic is fragrant and the pan is hot, add the saffron and the oregano until they are aromatic; about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and sauté 2 to 3 minutes before reducing the heat and cooking, stirring occasionally, 7 to 10 minutes or until the tomato skins have burst open.
For the lamb burgers:
- While the tomatoes are cooking, prepare the lamb mixture. Combine the ground lamb with the next six ingredients (thyme through red peppers). Using your hands, mix thoroughly but gently; trying not to break up the lamb meat too much.
- Lightly brush oil on the grates of your grill and preheat to high heat (550 to 600 F).
- Form the meat into 4 patties for half pound burgers or 6 patties for third pound burgers. Make sure to leave an indent in the center of the patties to ensure even cooking.
- Place the burgers on the grill and cook 3 to 4 minutes before rotating 45 degrees and cooking an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the burgers over and repeat this process until the internal temperature reaches 145. Top with the cheese before removing from the gill and allowing to rest 5 minutes before serving.
For the tzatziki:
- While the burgers and tomatoes are cooking, combine the cucumber, garlic, Greek yogurt, and mayonnaise in the bowl of a food process or blender and process until smooth and creamy.
- To assemble, spread a thin layer of the tzatziki spread on the bottom bun, top with a burger, and then a dollop of the spread before placing the tomatoes on top. Of course, place whatever other toppings you’d like where you’d like them. This is your burger, by the way! Serve with a delicious Greek cucumber salad or pasta salad…or French fries!