Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Gyro burgers with tzatziki on home-baked buns

At the Oxford Winter Market this past Saturday we found that Morning Sun Farms had ground lamb. We are not lamb eaters at my house. Neither my husband nor I grew up eating it, and in general I find it lamb dishes gamey and not to my taste. But I do like gyros, so I decided to give lamb another try. I'm glad I did! I adapted a gyroburger recipe I found online, made some tzatziki sauce, and gave homemade hamburger buns a whirl. What a great sandwich! We decided this recipe would also be good formed into flattened meatballs and stuffed into pita with tzatziki and chopped lettuce.

Serves 8

1 pound ground lamb
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, grated
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 c panko bread crumbs
1 t dried savory
1 t allspice
1 t ground coriander
1 t salt
1 t ground pepper
1/2 t ground cumin

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Stir gently until ingredients are well-mixed. Shape into 8 patties. Heat a large oven-proof skillet on high and coat lightly with olive oil. Set burgers into skillet and cook 2 minutes per side, then place skillet into oven for 10 minutes. Place cooked patties into sandwich buns, top patty with tzatziki, and serve.


1 c greek-style yogurt (or drain 1 1/2 c regular plain yogurt overnight)
2 cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 c fresh dill, minced
1 T lemon juice
2 T olive oil

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and chill. Makes 1 1/2 cups of sauce for dipping vegetables or topping sandwiches. And, no, the cukes weren't local -- don't I wish!


This recipe is delicious and though it's labor-intensive, it's easy, even for inexperienced bakers. Definitely worth making your own if you have any inclination at all! This recipe makes 16 buns, but it doesn't take any more time to make 16 than to make 8 so I make a full recipe and freeze the extras.

2 T sugar
2 T active dry yeast
1/2 c warm water (about 110 degrees)
2 c warm milk (about 110 degrees)
2 T vegetable oil
2 t salt
1 c rye flour
1 c whole wheat flour
4 to 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (divided)
egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 T cold water
coarse salt for topping buns before baking

In a large bowl (starting out in the bowl of your stand mixer will make this easier), dissolve the sugar and then the yeast in the warm water. Add the milk, oil, salt, the rye flour, the whole wheat flour, and 1 c of the all-purpose flour to the yeast mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.

Gradually add more all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. I find I can add about 2 more cups before setting the bowl into my stand mixer and using the dough hook, still adding in small increments and stopping often to scrape down the sides.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead until you have a smooth, elastic dough, about 5 minutes, dusting the table and the top of the dough as necessary. Or, leave in the stand mixer and let your dough hook do the kneading.

Place the dough into an oiled bowl, turning once to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly-woven dampened towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Divide into 16 equal pieces. (Cut in half, then cut the halves in half until you have 16 equal pieces.) Shape each piece into a ball and flatten into a disk. Place on a heavily-oiled baking sheet. Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes, while you preheat oven to 400.

Just before baking, lightly brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 20 minutes or until a deep golden brown. Remove buns immediately from the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack to prevent the bottom crust from becoming soggy. Before serving, slice crosswise.


WestEnder said...

I know what you mean about lamb; there's something about it that turns it gamey very quickly. I can deal with it, but I'd rather do without.

I've found that buying fresh lamb and cooking it myself avoids the problem, and it seems to have worked for you as well.

valereee said...

Westender, that's one of the nicest things about buying from the farmers' markets. You know the meat hasn't been sitting in a refrigerated case for days and gassed to keep looking pink.