Moroccan Merguez Lamb Burgers

Serves 6

13/4 pounds grass-fed ground lamb

6 ounces pancetta

6 cloves garlic, minced

11/2 tablespoons paprika

11/2 teaspoons cumin

11/2 teaspoons harissa, plus more for garnish

1/2 teaspoon each ground cloves and cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Kosher salt, black pepper

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Yogurt, Cucumber and Ginger Sauce

6 hamburger buns (optional)

1. Place a quarter of the lamb, the pancetta and garlic in a food processor, and process until ground well. Add the spices, 11/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper; pulse several times until well mixed. Pulse in remaining lamb and cilantro. To test for flavor, fry a small, thin patty until done. Taste, then adjust seasoning as needed.

2. Heat an outdoor grill; set grate 4 inches from heat source. Form mixture into 6 patties. Grill until golden on one side, about 4-5 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until golden on the second side and medium-rare, about 3-5 minutes. Check by pressing the center gently; there should be a little resistance.

3. Serve burgers topped with Yogurt, Cucumber and Ginger Sauce. Garnish with a small dollop of harissa. Serve with buns, if desired.

Yogurt, Cucumber and Ginger Sauce

Makes about 1½ cups

1 cup Greek yogurt

1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut in 1/4-inch dice and drained

1 teaspoon lemon zest

11/2 tablespoons grated, fresh ginger


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1 clove garlic, minced

Kosher salt

Place all the ingredients, except the salt, in a small bowl and stir together. Season to taste with salt.

-- Joanne Weir, "Cooking Confidence: Dinner Made Simple" (Taunton Press, $24.95, 256 pages)