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

February 20, 2014
5 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
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

  • 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
  • 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
In This Recipe
  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.

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Hack blogger, Ogden UT, born cook who moved to Portland, OR in 2011. Has never met a Vietnamese noodle soup or spring roll she did not like.