Karen Weinberg's Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki and Arugula

August 21, 2014

All week long, the GrowNYC team will be sharing recipes from The Greenmarket Cookbook -- and giving away one copy each day. Now get to the market, and make the most of summer's brightest produce before the season is over.

Today: A Greek-style lamb burger that's beefier than, well, beef. 

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Where’s the beef? Who cares? This lamb burger from Karen Weinberg at 3-Corner Field Farm (who sells at Union Square Greenmarket) is dressed in a mint-garlic yogurt sauce -- and it's fresher and far more flavorful than most beef burgers around. 

Karen raises 100% grass-fed lamb, making the mama ewes’ milk into yogurt and feta, both of which pair beautifully with this burger. And while the young male "ram lambs" born to her flock are sold as mild meat, more mature mutton has terrific flavor that Karen prefers for her own burger. 

When it comes to forming patties, don’t over-flatten them. You want the outside seared but the middle rare and juicy, so leave the center a good inch thick. Karen paints a little tamari on the surface to make a slightly salty crust, but skip this if you’ll put sheep’s feta on the burger, which will bring its own saltiness.

Of course, these burgers are great on the grill, but Karen always tells customers to buy a cheap cast-iron skillet or griddle for burger making. And there’s no need to add oil to the pan: Her lamb typically runs about 90% lean -- that's enough fat, on medium heat, to keep the meat from sticking. 

Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki and Arugula

Serves 6

For the tzatziki:

1 1/2 cups sheep's milk yogurt (or whole milk yogurt)
1 small kirby cucumber
2 finely chopped garlic scapes
1 tablespoon chopped mint

For the burgers:

2 pounds ground lamb or mutton
6 English muffins
2 cups baby arugula
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photo by GrowNYC. Excerpted from the book The Greenmarket Cookbook by Gabrielle Langholtz. Reprinted by permission of GrowNYC. All rights reserved.

We're giving away a copy of The Greenmarket Cookbook each day this week! To enter to win today's copy, tell us in the comments: What's on your ideal burger? We'll choose our winners next Monday, August 25th.

Photo by GrowNYC. Excerpted from The Greenmarket Cookbook by Gabrielle Langholtz. Reprinted by permission of GrowNYC. All rights reserved.

Update: Gingerroot and Carolyn Bean Stevens are our winners! We hope you enjoy your copy of The Greenmarket Cookbook.

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Nichol P. August 24, 2014
Ideal turkey burger with raw onion, 3 cheeses( provolone, cheddar, feta, lettuce, tomato, mayo, ketchup, mustard, bacon and sometimes chili.
pretty_pathetic August 22, 2014
My favorite burgers always involve either barbecue sauce or caramelized onions. Sometimes both.
HomeKuchen August 22, 2014
I know this is kind of throw-back, but a steamed beef burger with caramelized onions, melted gruyere on toasted rye....yes, a patty melt! Total yum!
Carolyn B. August 21, 2014
I have three ideal burgers:
Turkey/feta burger with tzatziki and arugula in a pita, what I just call the Julia Child recipe (ground chuck w/grated onions) with spicy honey mustard and green olives, and turkey burger with fried onions, fresh jalapeños and chipotle mayo. But I will definitely try this recipe! Gives me a reason to use garlic scapes. :) thank you!
10 L. August 21, 2014
This burger looks ideal, especially using such wonderful lamb. My ideal burger varies depending on the meat used and my mood. However, if lamb is on the bun, that bun usually gets slathered in a little caper aioli, topped with fresh tomato, olive and parsley relish, then, of course, the juiciest lamb patty, seasoned with dijon mustard before grilling. When the patty gets flipped on the grill, a slice of havarti cheese is added and topped with a bun. A wad of arugula tucks in before serving.
Glo C. August 21, 2014
yes, please
lastnightsdinner August 21, 2014
Karen raises the best lamb I've ever tasted, and I will be forever grateful to her for turning us on to lamb necks. Love her, love her stuff.
liz August 21, 2014
This burger looks delicious! My ideal burger always has to have some caramelized mushrooms and onions. The best is when the cheese is good and melty, and the mushrooms get stuck in it. If there aren't any mushrooms, I love a nice slice off a ripe, red beefsteak tomato, some great cheese, avocado, and lettuce. Regardless, I like a hearty bun with a good chew - sogginess is the worst. I generally like beef, but I have never had a lamb burger, and now I want one!
1natalplum August 21, 2014
I choose lamb burgers over beef, cook them on the grill (they smoke like crazy) and top with grilled ratatouille--yum!
Marilyn D. August 21, 2014
Lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, and ketchup
Donna August 21, 2014
My ideal burger: not too much bun (just enough to hold everything in place), good beef, cooked medium, bacon, cheese, onions, tomatoes lettuce, and some mayo. Then you bite into layers of contrasting flavors and textures, meaty, salty, crisp, and fresh. Perfect!
Alison M. August 21, 2014
It's always good to get off the conventional way of doing things
rachaelmr August 21, 2014
Is it terrible? I might not have an ideal...this one looks pretty ideal to me. Generally an ideal one is one that I don't make myself - burgers always seem like something that should be done by a professional grill...but this Lamb/Tzatziki burger makes me want to try.
healthierkitchen August 21, 2014
This one sounds pretty good, but my ideal is great meat, medium rare, little bit of ketchup and a slice of really fresh tomato.
heyjude August 21, 2014
Cheese and nothing else.
dmedesha August 21, 2014
What's on my ideal burger? Well, I'm a mushroom and Swiss guy, but I enjoy all sorts of additions, depending on my mood, the weather, and degree of over-weightiness. But my favorite accompaniment are a few fresh spinach leaves under the burger. They cook ever so slightly and add a little change in texture and taste ... and an odd green hint on a toothy smile.