Lamb Sliders with Herbed Yogurt Sauce
Most of us know someone, or perhaps we are someone, who has suffered at the hands of a food allergy or sensitivity. Sometimes it takes months, if not years, to get to the bottom of the problem, during which time, we can feel pretty crummy. Such was the case with my friend Amanda Haas, who bounced from doctor to doctor trying to understand the source of her belly aches, arthritis, and other unhappy symptoms.
Finally Amanda hit on the source of her trouble: inflammation caused by a severe gluten intolerance. It was a revelation, but came with some real concern. Amanda worried that dietary restrictions would not only interfere with a lifelong passion for food, but also with her work. As the culinary director for Williams-Sonoma, it’s her job to cook and taste food. Rather than take the news lying down, though, she learned how to make the most of her diet, turning newfound wisdom (along with considerable talent in the kitchen) into an inspiring new book.
Haas wrote the book in concert with Dr. Bradly Jacobs, who lent his expertise as an integrative medicine physician to the pages of the text. Together, they explore the relationship between diet and inflammation (a topic I delved into recently here) with more than 65 breakfast, lunch, snack, supper, and dessert recipes that bring wholesome eating to life.
Case in point are these little lamb burgers: my new favorite supper when the mood for meat strikes. The lamb has a decidedly Middle Eastern flair, seasoned with garlic, onions, coriander, cumin, and mint. The patties are topped with quick pickled onion and an herby yogurt sauce. Rather than serve them burger style on buns, I made them into mini sliders and tucked them into lettuce leaves. Delicious, either for family dinner for when company comes. Serve with a generous helping of vegetables on the side to boost the anti-inflammatory power of this meal.
Lamb Sliders with Pickled Onions and Herbed Yogurt Sauce
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 6 Tbsp lime juice
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp raw cane sugar
HERBED YOGURT SAUCE
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped mixed herbs such as dill, parsley, and mint
- Kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 red onion, finely diced
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 8 oz ground pork
- 3 Tbsp finely chopped mint
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped dill
- 3 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 12 lettuce cups (6 large Romaine lettuce leaves, torn in half or 12 butter lettuce or little gem lettuce leaves for serving)
To make the pickled onions: Place the onion, lime juice, salt, and sugar in a small bowl. Stir to combine, cover, and let sit at room temperature for about 2 hours to soften. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the herbed yogurt sauce: In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, herbs, and 1/2 tsp salt. Adjust the salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, or for up to 2 days.
To make the lamb burgers: In a small skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a small plate to cool.
In a large bowl, combine the lamb, pork, mint, dill, parsley, garlic, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, and cooled onions. Gently mix with your hands. Do not overwork the meat. Divide the mixture into 12 equal balls. Press into patties and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. (If not cooking immediately, cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.)
Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Working in batches, sear the burgers until well browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare, or about 5 minutes per side for well-done. Alternatively, prepare a grill for cooking over medium-high heat. Lightly grease the grill grate. Place the burgers on the grill, and cook, turning once, to reach desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare, or about 5 minutes per side for well-done.
Transfer the burgers to a plate to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Tuck each slider into a lettuce leaf and top with a generous dollop of herbed yogurt sauce and some pickled onions.
Recipe adapted with permission from Amanda Haas and Chronicle Books from The Anti-Inflammation Cookbook (Chronicle Books 2016). Photo credit: Erin Kunkel