Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mark Bittman's Lamb & Bulgur Burgers with Garlicky Avocado-Yogurt Sauce

It's Potluck time again at I Heart Cooking Clubs and I was craving a burger. Since I had Mark Bittman's recipe for Lamb & Bulgur Patties tagged and waiting to be made, I decided to make them into larger patties and turn them into Middle-Eastern-style lamb burgers. Wanting a fun sauce to go with it, I chose Bittman's Simplest Yogurt Sauce recipe and made the avocado-yogurt variation. I slathered the yogurt sauce onto 100% Whole Wheat Buns (part of a "bun" package sent to me from Nature's Pride as part of the FoodBuzz Tastemaker Program), and added local lettuce, red onion and cucumber slices for a hearty, healthy, delicious burger.

I pulled both recipes up on my "How to Cook Everything" iPhone application.

Lamb and Bulgur Patties
"How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman
(Makes 4-6 Servings)

1 lb boneless lamb, preferably from the shoulder, excess fat removed (I used already ground)
1 medium onion, quartered
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled (I used 3 cloves)
pinch cayenne (I used a large pinch)
1 tsp ground cumin (I used 1 Tbsp)
(I added the zest of 1 lemon)
1 egg
1 1/2 cups soaked bulgur, drained until dry
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves (I used 1/3 cup parsley & 1/3 cup mint)
2 Tbsp neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn if panfrying

Cut the lamb into large chunks and put in a food processor with the onion, a large pinch of salt, some pepper, the garlic, cayenne, cumin, and egg. Process until smooth, stopping the machine and scraping down the sides if necessary. Mix in the bulgur and parsley by hand.

To panfry: Shape the kofte into 8 small patties. (I made 3 larger, burger-sized patties and 5 small patties.) Put the oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium heat. When hot, add the patties, rotating as necessary and turning once or twice, until crisp and golden on each side, about 10 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.


Simplest Yogurt Sauce (Avocado-Yogurt Sauce Variation)
"How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman
(Makes a bit over 1 cup)

1 cup yogurt, preferably whole milk (I used Greek 2%)
1 tsp minced garlic (I used 1 very large clove)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used 1/2 lemon)

Combine the yogurt with the garlic, a pinch of salt, and a grinding or two of pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding some lemon juice if necessary.

Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to a few hours; bring back to near room temperature before serving.

For the Avocado-Yogurt Sauce:Variation: Stir in (or puree in a food processor 1/2 ripe avocado or more along with a little extra lemon juice)

Notes/Results: Very tasty, with a good texture, especially the crispy-golden outside. I added a lot of extra spice to these--lots more garlic and cumin, a good pinch of cayenne and also chopped mint and lemon zest and thought they tasted great--I think they may have been a bit too mild for me the way the recipe was written. Since I bought ground lamb rather than doing it myself, I put the onion and garlic in the food processor to get it finely minced and added it to the lamb, along with the egg and spices before stirring in the bulgur and herbs. This was great as a burger but also good as just the patties with the yogurt sauce over salad the next day. The sauce was delicious--I added more garlic and lots of lemon which was perfect with the patties. I would make both of these recipes again.

Nature's Pride Buns: I received a large box the other day from Nature's Pride and the FoodBuzz Tastemaker's Program, and inside it were three packages of Nature's Pride new Premium Harvest Buns and Rolls. There were the 100% Whole Wheat Bakery Buns, the Country White Bakery Buns and the Country White Deli Rolls. Since I don't eat a lot of "white" flour breads and products, I tried one of the deli rolls and gave the rest of them and the white bakery buns to a friend who was having a barbecue, and kept the whole wheat buns for myself. Both the white rolls and wheat buns were soft, held together well and tasted good. With 4 grams of Fiber and 9 grams of protein, no trans fats or artificial colors or preservatives, they are a pretty good option for a commercial burger bun.

You can see what the other IHCC participants made for their Potluck selections by going to the site and following the links here.

BTW: Although the burgers and sauce are quite lovable, my semi-regular Tuesday feature "Things I Am Loving This Week" is taking a short break and will be back next Tuesday.


  1. I love the sound of these burgers but I think the avocado-yogurt sauce is what really does it for me! Delicious dish for the potluck.

  2. I agree...the avocado yogurt sauce really draws me in. I love burgers and that sauce is a good excuse to try a healthier version!

  3. Yum, those burgers look great. I am going to try the yogurt sauce soon. The avocado added to it makes it really sound good. Can't wiat to try it.

  4. both recipes sound delicious!

  5. I'd eat this in a minute. It really looks and sounds delicious. The yogurt sauce sounds especially appealing. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  6. I made burgers this week too! Like everyone else, I'm loving that garlicky avocado-yogurt sauce:) I bet that would be delicious on anything! Great pick.

  7. I've been seeing lamb burgers appear more frequently, and I am glad for it. It's such a wonderful flavorful meat, I like this blend.

  8. Dear Deb,
    First time to ur very yummy blog.
    Saw burger n got stuck...n hw good to savor one wit garlic yogurt sauce...yumm..u making me hungry.
    Browsing thru ur page fr more yummy treats.
    BTW a foodie n blogger fm down under.

  9. I love everything about that burger! Delish =)

  10. Holy yum! My husband and I would love these. Great choice!

  11. Lamb burgers are great idea for summer. I love the idea of the avocado-yogurt sauce, I will have to keep that one in mind.

    Why can't these potlucks be real?!

  12. I was looking all over for a great recipe when I had lamb to use a few weeks ago. This one sounds so great. Guess this means I need to pick up another pack to try it! That Avocado sauce sounds so great too!

  13. I bet I would really like these burgers - even though I'm not much of a lamb eater. But with all the spices and that lovely avocado sauce - it would be hard to resist!

  14. there's an app for that? MUST DOWNLOAD NOW!!!!

    I do with Red Robin had something like these, since we went there tonight...and not much chance of my boys eating it. SIGH.

    My son had his first ever burger recently, and his first restaurant burger tonight. Baby steps...

  15. I'm so happy I found your page! Your recipes look great - and I've been looking for healthier options here in Hawaii!


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