This dish came about when we were looking for a Greek “hamburger” with the flavors of Cypriot cuisine.–Michael Psilakis
LC Pretend You're A Fancy Pants Chef Note
Chef Psilakis, renowned in Manhattan circles for his riff on traditional Greek cuisine, reminds us in his seminal book How to Roast a Lamb that sometimes big flavor comes from little things. Like taking a few extra minutes to toast and grind your own coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds rather than relying on the stale, pulverized powders found in those dusty little jars on your supermarket shelf. Just toast a pinch of each seed, one spice at a time, in a small, dry skillet over medium-ish heat until fragrant. Cool and grind to a powder in a spice grinder. The flavor will be far more complex, says Psilakis. So will your sense of satisfaction, says us.
Lamb Burger | Bifteki Arniou
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 45 M
- Makes 2 burgers
IngredientsEmail Grocery List
Recipe Testers Reviews
First, the list of ingredients is reasonable and the process simple enough that this recipe can easily be made for dinner on a work night if made on the stovetop, but would also be great for the weekend on the grill. Second, substituting bacon for the caul fat is a genius idea. I would not omit some sort of fat altogether, because even though the ground pork creates some fat, the bacon adds much-needed flavor. While the seasonings appear to be quite substantial, they are in fact very mild, so the additional bacon creates a lovely hit of flavor. I realized partway through cooking that I had no idea how to tell if the burgers were actually done. I dug out the meat thermometer to check, and took them off the burner at 160 degrees, which might have been a tad overdone, as they were slightly dry. A good cooking temperature in the recipe would be helpful. This is definitely a recipe I’ll use again. Next time, I’ll crank up the spices a bit, add a tad more salt and pepper, and grill them. These are definitely a great way to cook lamb!
The lamb benefited from the addition of the ground pork; it added just enough fat to make the meat flavorful without losing the lamb taste. I did not use the caul fat or bacon. Not much else should be changed in this recipe — it’s fairly straightforward, although I think the part about the mold could be omitted. Overall, I would make this burger again with the addition of a yogurt spread.
This is one of the best lamb burgers I’ve ever had! The ingredients and cooking method don’t mask the lamb, and the resulting burger has a very mild lamb taste that really doesn’t need much as an accompaniment. These were served on egg buns, and the extra olive oil and the fresh lemon wedges highlighted a unique burger experience. Some of the onion pieces fell out during the cooking process, but they just add a bit more flavor if you top the burger with them. I used a cast-iron skillet for this test. If you’re using a skillet, it MUST have a 12-inch diameter, or the burgers will not fit. I used bacon, and didn’t have the time to improvise, so I cut two one-ounce slices in half. Once the pan was hot enough, I laid the two halves side by side on one half of my skillet and immediately placed one burger patty on top of the bacon. Then I repeated the process for the second patty on the other half of my skillet. It took two spatulas to carefully flip the burger. It was a tad fragile. There really wasn’t a lot of noticeable smoke flavor from the bacon. It probably depends on the bacon used. It actually clung to the burger instead of the skillet, which surprised me.
We love burgers, and the combination of pork and lamb was intriguing! I made the recipe as written, except that I had to substitute bacon for the caul fat. I used uncured bacon, as I felt it would change the flavor the least. I also made the additional onion slices for the sandwich as recommended. The result was wonderful! The Greek spices were a perfect blend and imparted just the right spice. The bacon kept the burgers really moist, and the grilled onions added just the right sweetness. I highly recommend this recipe. I know we will make it often!
It’s a little more work than an average burger, but well worth the trouble. If you’re not a big fan of dill, like my boyfriend, there isn’t enough in here to turn you off. Just a hint of it. The patties were quite moist but managed to hold together, almost more meatloaf-ish or meatball-ish than what we typically think of as a burger. The grilled onions chopped up in the meat were delicious. I considered feta, but instead made a tzatziki of Greek yogurt, cucumber, a touch of garlic, parsley, and mint to put on top that went very well. I also doubled the recipe with no trouble.
My family enjoyed these burgers. I’ll confess, we all are lamb fans. I used whole cumin, fennel, and coriander, first toasting the spices in a small, dry cast-iron skillet for a couple minutes, then grinding them in my spice grinder. I do think this step helped bring out the flavors, giving this a nice Middle Eastern profile. I like food on the spicy side, so I used the same amount of spice that was called for in the recipe, even though the recipe called for powdered spices. I made the recipe without wrapping the burgers in caul or bacon. While I am sure the fat would add another layer of rich flavor, I opted to go the less fatty route. The burgers were still delicious. Someday when my doctor isn’t looking, I will try the pork fat. Since I had a cupboard full of empty containers, I tried the tip to use them as shaping rings. Worked fine, and now I can use these rings in the future. Oh no, one more gadget in my drawers! For those wrapping the burgers, the resulting clean edges would make the task easier. Topping the burgers with tzatziki sauce and a few slices of roasted onion made us happy eaters!