Lamb Biftekia with Anchovy, Sun-Dried Tomato, and Mint

By • February 20, 2014 22 Comments

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Author Notes: Biftekia is basically the Greek word for burger. After I graduated high school in 1999 my parents took myself and my sisters to Greece and I ate this several times, usually made with ground lamb, these were often served on skewers and served with different condiments. I decided to try my hand at my own version of these, which are similar to meatballs or meatloaf, I used American ground lamb and combined it with a few other seasonings. For my sauce I used another flavor packed pantry item….ANCHOVIES! Packed in olive oil and salt these lil’ babies can add umami flavor and depth to many dishes. Anchovies are not just for pizza, they are a great way to add the salt element to a dish, and I used mint, lemon, capers and sundried tomatoes to round out the flavors and served with the lamb biftekia it balanced out perfectly. Similar to the use of the condiment Nuoc Cham in Vietnamese cooking, this condiment can be used with a variety of roasted meat, veggies, or even as a topping for pasta.Alexandra V. Jones

Food52 Review: WHO: Alexandra V. Jones is a kitchen ninja living in Portland.
WHAT: A cross between a burger and a kebab, with some addictive stuff to dip it in.
HOW: Mix ground lamb with alliums and spices; shape onto skewers; grill. Mix together an herb-y, anchovy-y sauce. Dip and devour.
WHY WE LOVE IT: In the summer, it's easy to get into a grilling rut -- to make steaks and burgers and vegetables and forget about all the other good stuff that you can throw on there. These skewers are a great way to switch up your grilling game -- lamb! spices! skewers! -- and we'd eat that sauce on pretty much anything.
The Editors

Serves 2 to 3

For anchovy sauce

  • 3 olive oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Bragg’s liquid aminos (you can use soy, I would suggest temari for this)
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 2 teaspoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons oil-packed sundried tomatoes, chopped

Lamb biftekia

  • 3/4 pound ground lamb
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped parsley
  • 6 bamboo skewers
  1. Make sauce by combining all sauce ingredients. I like to use a mortar and pestle for this to keep a more rustic texture -- you can use a blender or food processor but just pulse a few times. Combine anchovies, garlic, sugar, sun-dried tomatoes, mint and parsley, muddle until it forms a thick paste, add the rest of ingredients, and stir to combine. This can be made up to a week in advance and kept in the fridge.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix meat with other ingredients, portion into six logs. Wrap the meat mixture around skewers.
  3. Grill 4 minutes flip, cook another 3 minutes or so until firm. I used my indoor grill pan -- you can also do these under a broiler, just watch closely to not over cook.
  4. Serve with anchovy sauce.

Tags: grill, grilling, ground lamb, lamb

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Comments (22) Questions (0)

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3 months ago erin

Beautiful and easy. I don't eat meat myself, but I happily dribbled the sauce over my tragic veggie sausage, and the lamb got enthusiastic-mouths-full compliments from the omnivores. And perhaps best of all: it struck me that the leftover sauce (there was a lot) would be a good base for a Puttanesca-ish pasta sauce. I softened a leftover lump of onion with a few more anchovy fillets, then added the sauce with a handful of chopped olives, a glug of red wine, some chilli flakes and fresh basil. Plenty of olive oil and parmesan to finish - couldn't have worked out better.

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4 months ago Michelle Sweeney

I made this for my husband, he loved it, but I think the vining a was a bit overpowering. I don't eat red meat, but a Greek salad and some home made soft breadsticks made for a great dinner for both of us!

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4 months ago The Pontificator

I've made this before. 100% winner.

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4 months ago Alexandra V. Jones

Awesome! Glad it worked out so well!

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about 1 year ago bluechefk

want to make these for a dinner party, but one single person who's coming doesn't like lamb - boo!!! would this be as good with another meat, do you think?

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about 1 year ago Alexandra V. Jones

I think this is honestly a great recipe to serve people who think they don't like lamb....but in all fairness you could sub any ground meat really....ground sirloin would be good, but you could go with pork or even turkey! If you do a variation let me know how it turned out!

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about 1 year ago bluechefk

i couldn't agree with you more re: lamb, but this one friend is veeerrrrrry picky. going to make half with lamb and half with sirloin, and will let people take what they want. am certain it will be delicious either way - thank you!

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about 1 year ago Alexandra V. Jones

Happy cooking!!! Cheers!

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about 1 year ago Flirty Foodie

How did you know that I love all things LAMB! Can't wait to try this one.

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about 1 year ago Ara Waldeinsamkeit Cook

this is wonderful! i had to work with what i had so i took out the lemon and liquid amino and added a dash of Mirin.

i went completly off the handle and served with a Hyderabandi Biryani seasoned long grain rice and a sauteed summer squash --i know this may not be what you had in mind in Greece but its amazing!

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about 1 year ago EmilyC

Made these last night and loved them! They were simple to prepare and so flavorful! This sweet rice (https://food52.com/recipes...) made a lovely pairing.

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about 1 year ago aubrey | drum beets

just made these and they turned out amazing! i think i'd use a different vinegar or maybe less, since it seems pretty vinegary but i really loved all the flavors!!

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about 1 year ago Alexandra V. Jones

Totally, make it to your tastes, choose your own adventure! Red wine vinegar would work, but if you find it too vinegary maybe you would prefer using the juice of one lemon?

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about 1 year ago Alexandra V. Jones

Does that make sense, sorry....so use two lemons and cut the vinegar...I think that would give you enough acid...

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about 1 year ago aubrey | drum beets

I'll give that a try next time!

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about 1 year ago frog

Small note: it is tamari.

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about 1 year ago Alexandra V. Jones

Yes, apparently "Temari" is an anime character and he me may be a tough ingredient to find! I will edit that.

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about 1 year ago Georgia Velis Tittensor

Wonderful recipe!

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about 1 year ago Alexandra V. Jones

Thanks buddy!

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about 1 year ago Alexandra V. Jones

Wow! Thanks so much! This recipe is damn tasty so I gotta say the wildcard jury has great taste!! Woot Woot!

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about 1 year ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congrats - absolutely love lamb and this looks like a great one!

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about 1 year ago Alexandra V. Jones

Thank you!