Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki and Couscous

Happy Fourth of July for all of you Americans out there. I hope the weather cooperates with your plans. It's supposed to rain here, but I don't really have any big plans for today anyway. Foodwise, it's never been my favorite holiday, and since fireworks are banned inside of most city limits, the fun has pretty much gone out of it for me. I'm not really into crowds so, other than my first year here, I do not venture anywhere near downtown for the Taste of Chicago and the fireworks. Yeah, I know . . . I'm no fun.

The George Foreman Grill experiments continue apace. So far, the results have all been good. I find that I'm still more excited by the vegetable possibilities than the meat, but I'm still grilling my fair share of that as well.

I was so thrilled to have re-discovered Middle Eastern Turkey burgers that I still had a taste for them after the last time I made them. I also was eager to see how they would work on the grill. And since I had some ground lamb in my freezer and I'm still working on getting things out of my freezer faster than they go in (still no success there, alas), the opportunity was ripe for Middle Eastern Lamb burgers.

This time I had given it some thought, so I knew I was going to be making tzatziki, so the day before I was going to cook up the burgers I put the yogurt in cheesecloth in a strainer, covered it up, and left it in the fridge overnight. By the next day I had Greek yogurt - smooth and creamy and very dry. I grated the cucumber, salted it, and let it drain for about an hour and a half. The resultant spread was rich and creamy; it was so thick, though, that I actually had to add milk to it to thin it out some.

The lamb was lean and the onion was not enough to moisten it up quite as nicely as it does the turkey. Plus, I cooked it a little longer than I should have which did not help. But I would make it again and cook them a little less. If you want the recipe for the lamb burgers, just follow the link here and substitute the lamb for the turkey.

After I had boiled the water for the couscous and added the grains, I threw in some sliced green onoins. After it had rested for five minutes, I added dried mango and chopped pistachios as I fluffed them up. Tasty.

The tzatziki was the biggest success of this meal, though. As long as you plan ahead and start it the day before you need it, it really doesn't take that much effort. And the possibilities are endless in terms of what you can do with it.
Home Cookin Chapter: Sauces


1 container (16 ounces) plain lowfat yogurt
1/2 English (seedless) cucumber, not peeled, seeded and finely chopped plus a few thin slices
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 to 2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint or dill plus additional sprigs
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Spoon yogurt into sieve lined with cheesecloth or coffee filter set over bowl; cover and refrigerate overnight. Transfer drained yogurt to medium bowl and discard liquid.

Meanwhile, in colander set over bowl, toss chopped cucumber with 1 teaspoon salt. Let drain at least 1 hour at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate up to 8 hours. In batches, wrap chopped cucumber in
kitchen towel and squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible. Pat dry with paper towels, then add
to bowl with yogurt.

With flat side of chef's knife, mash garlic to a paste with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add garlic, chopped mint, oil, vinegar, and pepper to yogurt and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 or up to 4 hours. Serve chilled or at room temperature, topped with cucumber slices and mint sprigs.

Yield: about 1-1/2 cups

Per tablespoon: about 17 calories, 1 gram protein, 1 gram carbohydrate, 1 gram total fat (0 gram
saturated), 1 mg cholesterol, 182 mg sodium.

The Good Housekeeping Cookbook, edited by Susan Westmoreland (Hearst Books)

Exported from Home Cookin 5.4 (


Anonymous said...

OK, stupid Blogger won't let me sign in anymore. Bad Blogger, Bad.

Anyway, they look delish. Hope Austin was fun and not too hot.


dejamo said...

They upgraded blogger a while ago, misreall, and I guess now you have to sign on with a google account.

Hey, I sent you an email but I don't think you got it. I will try again; hope to see you soon.

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