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"Roast Beef, Medium, is not only a food. It is a philosophy. Seated at Life's Dining Table, with the menu of Morals before you, your eye wanders a bit over the entrées, the hors d'oeuvres, and the things à la, though you know that Roast Beef, Medium, is safe and sane, and sure."

Edna Ferber (1887-1968), U.S. author. Roast Beef, Medium, Foreword (1911)

This combination of flavors is warm, satisfying and just plain delicious. Although designed for ground lamb, this spice mixture would work just as well for ground chicken, pork and beef. The quick yogurt sauce is the perfect accompaniment for the lamb burgers.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes plus sit time for sauce    Serving Size: 4

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • Olive Oil
  • Spice Mix, below*
  • 4 pocket-style pita breads
  • Tzatziki-style Sauce, below
  • 1 cup iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1/2 cup fresh tomato, diced
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Prepare the Spice Mix and Tzatziki-style sauce early enough for flavors to blend. Break the ground lamb up in a large bowl. Mix in the spice mix and 3 tablespoons cold water, trying to work the meat as little as possible. Using wet hands, form into 4 equal sized burgers. Cover and set for at least 15 minutes while heating the grill to medium. Rub olive oil on the burgers and cook carefully over medium heat, 7-10 minutes turning once. Do not over cook. Olive oil will cause major flare ups so do not leave unattended. Heat pita breads on the grill for 1 minute, turning once. Halve the burgers and serve in the pita with the sauce, lettuce and tomatoes.

The Spice Mix

*(you can quadruple the spice mix amounts and use 2 1/2 teaspoons of the mix for each pound of meat; store remainder in an air-tight jar for up to a year)

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads

Heat a small skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes then cut the heat off. Combine all spices in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the bottom of the heated pan. Stir with a heat-proof spatula until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove back to the small bowl and allow to cool.

The Yogurt sauce

  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Whisk all ingredients in a medium bowl. Unused portion may be kept covered in the refrigerator for about 3 days.