Iraqi Lamb Burgers With Mint Pesto

A burger infused with Middle Eastern spices — mint, cinnamon and allspice — and with added pine nuts is a nice break from a traditional American hamburger.

(Note: When the Forward tested this recipe, we made 8 patties instead of 6, and cooked them longer than the recipe indicates — about 5 minutes per side.)

Also on the Menu

15-Minute Black-Bean “Mujadara”
Watermelon Salad With Black Olives, Basil and Cucumber
Coconut Sorbet With Summer Berries

For the Pesto

3 cups packed fresh mint leaves
1¼ cups olive oil 1 to 2 teaspoons honey 4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

For the Burger

6 tablespoons pine nuts
2 pounds ground lamb
½ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
2–3 teaspoons kosher salt
1½ teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup ice water
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs or matzo meal
6 pitas (or hamburger buns)

1) To make the pesto, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and purée. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

2) In a small pan over medium-low heat, toast the pine nuts, watching carefully and stirring, until lightly colored, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

3) To make the burgers, preheat the broiler or lightly oil a grill pan. In a medium bowl, combine the pine nuts, lamb, parsley, mint, onion, salt, allspice and cinnamon. Knead well by hand, squeezing the meat through your fingers. Add the ice water and continue mixing by hand. Add the breadcrumbs and knead well again until the meat is very soft and all the ingredients are well blended, about 3 minutes.

4) Shape the meat into 6 2½-inch patties (see cooking note at the top) by rolling it between your palms into 1- to 1½-inch-diameter balls, and then flatten them.

5) Transfer the patties to a broiling pan and broil, turning once, until brown and cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes per side. (See note.) Alternatively, grill over high heat for 2 to 4 minutes per side. Remove from the heat and set on a serving plate.

6) Before serving, warm the pitas (or buns) in foil in a 300˚ F oven for a few minutes. Serve the burgers with the pita and mint pesto.

Recipe from “The Community Table: Recipes & Stories From the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan and Beyond” (Grand Central Life & Style, 2015)with Katja Goldman, Judy Bernstein Bunzl and Lisa Rotmil, courtesy of JCC Manhattan.

Iraqi Lamb Burgers With Mint Pesto

Tagged as:

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Iraqi Lamb Burgers With Mint Pesto

Thank you!

This article has been sent!