The rich flavor of lamb makes for an exceptional burger experience. We decided to pair delicately spiced ground lamb patties with a colorful beet tzatziki, pan-seared halloumi cheese, and a drizzle of sweet honey for a truly unique burger that could transport us to the Greek islands any night of the week.
All that the ground lamb needed was a flavor boost, so we made a warm spice blend of coriander, oregano, and cinnamon. Slabs of firm, salty halloumi cheese developed a beautiful nutty brown crust when seared and offset the richness of the lamb.
For a creamy tang, we topped our burgers with a generous dollop of tzatziki, which we spiked with earthy beets to turn it a vivid pink. A drizzle of honey helped pull all the flavors together.
LAMB BURGERS WITH HALLOUMI AND BEET TSATZIKI
By America’s Test Kitchen
- 1-1/2 pounds ground lamb
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 (8 ounce) block halloumi cheese, sliced crosswise into 1/2 inch-thick slabs (see Key Ingredient)
- 4 hamburger buns, toasted if desired
- 1-1/2 ounces (1-1/2 cups) baby arugula
- 1 tablespoon honey
- >> Beet tzatziki:
- 1 beet, peeled and shredded (3/4 cup)
- 1/4 cucumber, shredded
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup whole Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint or dill
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
>> To make tzatziki: Toss beet and cucumber with salt in colander set over medium bowl and let sit for 15 minutes. Discard any drained juices and wipe bowl clean with paper towels.
Whisk yogurt, oil, mint and garlic together in now-empty bowl, then stir in beet mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
Break ground lamb into small pieces in large bowl. Add coriander, oregano, cinnamon and pepper; gently knead with hands until well combined. Divide into 4 equal portions, then gently shape each portion into a 3/4- inch-thick patty. Using fingertips, press center of each patty down until about 1/2 inch-thick, creating slight divot.
Season patties with salt. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium until just smoking. Transfer patties to skillet, divot side up, and cook until well browned on first side, 2 to 4 minutes.
Flip patties and continue to cook until browned on second side and meat registers 120 to 125 degrees (for medium-rare) or 130 to 135 degrees (for medium), 3 to 5 minutes.
Transfer burgers to platter and let rest 5 minutes. Wipe skillet clean.
Pat halloumi dry with paper towels. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty skillet over medium until shimmering. Arrange halloumi in single layer in skillet and cook until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Serve burgers on buns, topped with halloumi, tzatziki, and arugula, drizzled with honey. Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 734 calories, 43 g total fat, 18 g saturated fats, 115 mg cholesterol, 1,505 mg sodium, 44 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 12 g sugar, 46 g protein.