2000s Recipes + Menus

Turkish-Style Lamb Burgers with Walnut Sauce

  • Active time:25 min
  • Start to finish:45 min
March 2005
Bulgur gives a nutty texture to spicy lamb burgers; pita rounds sop up the flavorful juice.

For burgers

  • 1 cup boiling-hot water
  • 1/3 cup bulgur
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (not hot)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

For sauce

  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (1 1/2 oz)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

For pitas

  • 4 (4-inch) pita loaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Paprika (not hot) for dusting
  • Garnish:

    fresh cilantro sprigs

Soak bulgur for burgers:

  • Pour boiling-hot water over bulgur with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl and soak 15 minutes, then drain in a sieve.

Make sauce while bulgur soaks:

  • Mince garlic and mash to a paste with salt (1/8 teaspoon) using a large heavy knife, then transfer to a food processor and blend with remaining sauce ingredients until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.

Prepare burgers:

  • Preheat broiler.
  • Pulse onion and herbs in cleaned processor until finely chopped, then transfer to a bowl and stir in bulgur, lamb, paprika, allspice, pepper, cayenne, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt until just combined. Form lamb mixture into 4 patties (4 inches in diameter).

Broil pitas and burgers:

  • Arrange pitas on a baking sheet. Brush with oil, then lightly dust with paprika and season with pepper. Broil on lowest rack until toasted, 1 to 3 minutes (watch to prevent burning). Keep pitas warm, loosely covered with foil, while broiling burgers.
  • Oil rack of a broiler pan and heat 4 inches from heat until hot, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Broil burgers, turning over once, until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes total. Serve burgers on pitas, topped with sauce.
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