Sunday, June 14, 2009

Greek Hamburgers

I didn't run today. I did 25 miles on the greenbelt yesterday in the full heat and humidity of a Texas summer. And last Saturday I did 50 miles in the same heat, so I figured I deserved the day off. Instead I slept in and enjoyed a relaxed trip to the grocery store with Nancy and Gavin.

And since most of our evenings this week are taken up with one thing or another, I spent an enjoyable part of today preparing some meals we can make quickly during the week. I made a big bowl of potato salad, another bowl of fruit salad (is there any better summer dish), some Greek salad (red leaf lettuce, tomato, red onion, feta, croutons and your dressing of choice) and for tonight's supper I experimented with a "concept dish" - Greek hamburgers.

I don't like to eat meals high in saturated fat, but hamburgers made with lean beef or turkey tend to be dry, so how to get around that? Well, while forming the patties I sandwiched a layer of creamed butter, feta and herbs in the middle of them. It worked great - keeping the burger moist while cooking and also giving a double layer of Greek flavor.

Tzatziki is a great Greek yogurt-cucumber dip (usually served with gyros) that I used here to spread on the bun in place of mayo or mustard. It keeps for a few days in the fridge and is delicious with any kind of grilled meat (hint: try it with Fajita meat wrapped in tortillas or pita breads - that's tomorrow night's meal).

Greek Hamburgers
Patties (makes 3 good-sized burgers)
1lb extra lean sirloin
Handful of diced red onion
Salt and pepper

Filling (enough for 3 burgers)
2 Tbsp butter/margarine
2 Tbsp crumbled feta
1 tsp mixed diced herbs (such as oregano and parsley)

Ideas for Toppings
Shredded lettuce (romaine/red leaf/green leaf)
Red onion (raw and thinly sliced)
Sliced mushrooms (quickly sauteed)
Tzatziki (recipe follows)
Sliced avocado
Sliced cheese/crumbled feta

Tzatziki (makes about 2 cups)
32oz pot of Dannon fat free plain yogurt
2 coffee machine paper filters
1 cucumber
Juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, finely diced
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a ramekin, cream together the butter, feta and mixed herbs. Cover with clear plastic and refrigerate until needed.
2. To make the patties, mix together the sirloin, diced onion, salt and pepper. Split into 3 portions and form each portion into a flat ball.
3. Make a depression in the middle of each ball, fill with the creamed butter mix, form the burger around the filling to cover and form into a burger. Refrigerate until needed.
4. To make the Tzatziki, we need Greek yogurt. If you don't have any, line a sieve with 2 coffee machine paper filters (for extra strength) and set it over a bowl. Empty the pot of Dannon plain yogurt into the filters and leave it for a few hours for the liquid to drain out.
5. Peel and de-seed the cucumber. Finely dice it and add to the Greek yogurt, along with the garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours for flavors to blend.

Many folks like to sear their burgers and cook them quickly, but I prefer to grill them covered over charcoal with some wood chips thrown on the coals for flavor - generally about 25 minutes (I'll turn them at 7.5, 15 and 20 minutes).

You can use a regular hamburger bun (toasted or not), or go the whole hog and make some pita breads instead (these are great - use half wholewheat flour for better texture).

I topped mine with lettuce, provolone, tomato, red onion, sliced avocado and tzatziki, and paired it with potato salad, Greek salad and stir fried veggies. It was good.


1 comment:

David Jacobson said...
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