Monday, December 15, 2008

Greek Burgers

This recipe reminds me of hot summer nights and grilling out on our deck. I miss it now, when it's so cold outside. I made it for the first time this past summer, and it's been a huge success since. It's a super easy recipe, I actually made it up by adding ingredients that make me think of Greece. I made it last week to bring up a little summer memory to my kitchen.

I use ground beef, usually the fatter one with about 10-15% of fat. Good burger has to have a little fat - it makes it taste better, and it doesn't dry out as fast. Next time I make those I will mix a little of ground lamb to make it more authentic. But just the beef taste really good, especially when I load it with garlic and oregano. I love to serve it on warm pita bread with my homemade Taziki sauce and fresh Creek salad.

Here is what you need to make the burgers:

  • ground beef
  • finely diced red onion
  • chopped or pressed garlic
  • chopped fresh oregano
  • sea salt and pepper
  • Dijon mustard
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • fresh lemon juice
  • crumbled feta cheese (optional)

The proportions might be little off, since I really never measure my ingredients. I always eyeball it, and it tastes great. You must use fresh oregano, the dried stuff will not add as much flavor. I use a lot of garlic and a lot of oregano - that what makes them taste Greek...

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, be gentle, do not over mix the beef - you want your burgers to be soft and fluffy, not hard and over mixed. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour - it helps the garlic and oregano flavors to penetrate the meat. You can skip this step if you don't have time, but I would try to make it ahead of time, to make sure that the burger mix goes to the fridge.

After the mix is chilled, take out of the fridge and shape it in even portions to make even size burgers. You want to make sure those are more or less the same size, it will be easier to grill them, as they all will be ready at the same time. If you have few smaller ones and few big ones, the bigger ones have to stay on the grill longer.

I like to put them on a hot grill, around 400 degrees, it only takes 7 minutes or less (depends on the size of your patties) to grill those.

Homemade Taziki sauce is one of the things that makes this dish even more delicious!

  • 1/2 of seedless cucumber, diced in a small dice
  • 1 shallot or 1/2 of small red onion, diced
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, pressed through a garlic press
  • fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (might be substituted with regular plain yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • fresh lemon juice
  • 1 TBS red wine vinegar
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • crumbled feta (optional)
Mix all the ingredients together, adjust the taste if needed. Refrigerate before serving over burgers.

Greek salad is an excellent addition to this meal. French fries or Greek fries would be perfectly fine, but in the summer we want to eat light and this just tastes great with our burgers. This salad mainly consist of cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, crumbled feta, olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and freshly grounded black pepper. Sometimes I mix it a little lettuce or mixed greens.
Cut cucumbers and tomatoes, mix with thinly sliced red onion, add salt, pepper, little lemon juice, mix it together and let it stand for 15 minutes until you see some juice on the bottom of the bowl. Add mixed greens, feta, sprinkle with olive oil, mix gently together to combine.

Serve burgers on warm, grilled pita, with Taziki and feta on top, with a side of Greek salad.

YUMM! or how they say it in Greece - OPA!

*** I only use sea salt in my kitchen. It is so much healthier than the processed iodized kitchen salt, and it makes the food taste so much better. Try it - you'll never go back to the old stuff!

{my pictures are still not coming out too great, sorry}

No comments: