Living in an apartment has its share of advantages. For example, I can vacuum my entire living space in 10 minutes. I’m less of a pack rat because I don’t have room for extraneous belongings. Perhaps best of all, my building has a stoop where I can sit with a margarita in hand and watch the neighborhood stroll by.
But at this time of year, as aromas of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs float through my second floor windows from the backyards below, I long for my own outdoor space. And a grill, of course. I want to cook outside in the fresh air and enjoy my meal at a shaded table nearby, mosquitoes be damned.
Well, that’s not going to happen right now, at least as long as we live in our current abode. But even though we didn’t have backyard access or a grill, Jim and I refused to be denied our Memorial Day barbeque last week. And so during my supermarket fava bean run I also picked up some ground lamb for one of our favorite recipes, Everyday Food’s Mini Lamb Burgers.
These lean little burgers have a Greek twist to them, as they are served in pita bread with tomatoes, lettuce, and a creamy, cool tzatziki sauce. I altered the original recipe in a few ways, adding more onion to the burger mixture and omitting the oregano. (Jim is allergic.) We cooked the patties in our grill pan on the kitchen stove, and enjoyed them at our dining table, right next to the open windows. It wasn’t the same as grilling burgers over an open fire outside, but it worked for us. The mosquitoes can wait.
Recipe for Mini Lamb Burgers (adapted from Everyday Food)
For the tzatziki
- 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and grated
- 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt (we used Fage Greek yogurt)
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons fresh mint
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
Combine all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready for use.
For the Mini Lamb Burgers
- 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 4 pita breads, sliced in half
- 2 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced
In a medium bowl, combine the ground lamb with the onion and parsley. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Shape the meat mixture into small patties, each about 3/4 inch thick. You should wind up with 12-16 patties.
Heat the grill pan over medium heat. When pan is hot, grill the burgers for about 2-3 minutes on each side.
When ready to serve, place 2 patties in each pita bread half. Stuff the pita bread with a slice of tomato and arugula. Top with a generous spoonful of tzatziki. Serves 4 as a main course. Enjoy!