The rich flavour 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 flavour 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 flavours together.
LAMB BURGERS WITH HALLOUMI AND BEET TZATZIKI
Start to finish: 1 hour, 15 minutes
1 beet, peeled and shredded (3/4 cup)
1/4 English cucumber, shredded
1 teaspoon table salt, divided
1/2 cup whole Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint or dill
1 small garlic clove, minced
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 (8 ounce) block halloumi cheese, sliced crosswise into 1/2 inch-thick slabs
4 hamburger buns, toasted if desired
1 1/2 ounces (1 1/2 cups) baby arugula
1 tablespoon honey
Toss beet and cucumber with 1/2 teaspoon 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, 2 tablespoons oil, mint, and garlic together in now-empty bowl, then stir in beet mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Break ground lamb into small pieces in large bowl. Add coriander, oregano, cinnamon, and pepper and gently knead with hands until well combined. Divide lamb mixture into 4 equal portions, then gently shape each portion into 3/4- inch-thick patty. Using your fingertips, press centre of each patty down until about 1/2 inch-thick, creating slight divot.
Season patties with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat 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 F to 125 F (for medium-rare) or 130 F to 135 F (for medium), 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer burgers to platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels.
Pat halloumi dry with paper towels. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty skillet over medium heat 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, and drizzled with honey.