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

February 20, 2014
5 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Serves 2 to 3
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 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
  • 1 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Aspenglow
  • Shalini
  • Chef Devaux
    Chef Devaux
  • Michelle Sweeney
    Michelle Sweeney
  • The Pontificator
    The Pontificator
Chef de cuisine @Shelburne hotel Seaview, WA

29 Reviews

stephanie P. April 12, 2021
I made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious! I added 1/4 cup of cilantro to the sauce because it needed to be used, otherwise followed the recipe to the letter. I will make this again and again.
Alexandra V. April 13, 2021
I am so pleased you like it! The cilantro sounds great! Happy cooking! Thanks for the positive feedback!
Aspenglow July 21, 2019
Fabulous recipe! It definitely has ALL the yummy flavors. Thanks!
Alexandra V. April 13, 2021
Thanks so much! I’m pleased you like it!
Shalini July 12, 2016
We had this for dinner tonight, and loved it! I added about two teaspoons of cumin to the meat, and a teaspoon of cinnamon, and subbed in half a big french shallot for the onion. Also, ponzu sauce instead of soy for the dipping sauce as my fridge is too packed. Served with dolmades as an appetizer, and quinoa with sugar snap peas. Thank you for a wonderful recipe.
Chef D. November 20, 2015
oh yes!
erin April 28, 2015
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.
Alexandra V. April 13, 2021
Maybe it would be good using beyond meat? Thanks for the feedback!
Michelle S. April 15, 2015
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!
The P. April 13, 2015
I've made this before. 100% winner.
Alexandra V. April 13, 2015
Awesome! Glad it worked out so well!
bluechefk July 29, 2014
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?
Alexandra V. July 29, 2014
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!
bluechefk July 29, 2014
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!
Alexandra V. July 29, 2014
Happy cooking!!! Cheers!
Flirty F. July 17, 2014
How did you know that I love all things LAMB! Can't wait to try this one.
Ara W. July 3, 2014
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!
EmilyC June 15, 2014
Made these last night and loved them! They were simple to prepare and so flavorful! This sweet rice ( made a lovely pairing.
aubrey |. June 11, 2014
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!!
Alexandra V. June 12, 2014
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?
Alexandra V. June 12, 2014
Does that make sense, use two lemons and cut the vinegar...I think that would give you enough acid...
aubrey |. June 16, 2014
I'll give that a try next time!
frog May 29, 2014
Small note: it is tamari.
Alexandra V. May 29, 2014
Yes, apparently "Temari" is an anime character and he me may be a tough ingredient to find! I will edit that.
Georgia V. May 28, 2014
Wonderful recipe!
Alexandra V. May 29, 2014
Thanks buddy!
Alexandra V. May 28, 2014
Wow! Thanks so much! This recipe is damn tasty so I gotta say the wildcard jury has great taste!! Woot Woot!
aargersi May 28, 2014
Congrats - absolutely love lamb and this looks like a great one!
Alexandra V. May 29, 2014
Thank you!