RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Alexander the Great Burger

This burger is just as grand as its inspiring conqueror. The moistness of the lamb and beef are accentuated by the Persian infusion of chilled onions and cooled, thickened yogurt sauce. The finishing touch is the make-shift Persian bread. What would normally be found in 3-ft long loaves can be easily recreated by adding a brush of olive oil and a sprinke of nigella seeds for that characteristic Caspian flavor.

Ingredients 

1 cup yogurt
2 lbs. ground (24%) chuck beef
2 lbs. ground lamb
3 tsp salt
3 tsp pepper
2 medium sized red onions
1 cup olive oil
1 large white onion
1 cup vinegar
1/2 cup ice cubes
6 rounds of flat bread (either pita or gyro style thick bread)
1/2 cup nigella seeds (if not available, subsitute sesame seeds)
2 tbsp. sumac

Instructions 

1. Take a cheese cloth and place it on top of a strainer placed over a bowl. Place 1 cup of plain yogurt into the cheese cloth and allow to sit. This will thicken the yogurt into a consistency similar to sour cream (traditionally know in the Middle East as lebni). 2. In a large glass bowl add 2 lbs. of ground (24%) chuck beef and 2 lbs. of ground lamb. 3. To the bowl add 3 tsp of salt and 3 tsp of pepper. 4. On a grater, grate two medium sized red onions. 5. Add the onions to the bowl with the meat and mix the contents with gloved hands until the mixture seems uniform. 6. Make six round balls out of the meat mixture and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. 7. Start your coal fire in the grill and brush the cleaned grill rack with olive oil. 8. On a cutting board chop one large white onion into strings. After cutting, place in a glass bowl with 1 cups of vinegar and half a cup of ice cubes. 9. At this point, press down on the meat balls to make into patties approximately 4 inches in diameter. Brush one side of each patty and place the patties on the grill, brushed side down. Make sure the patties are seperated and towards the center of the grill. 10. While the patties are grilling, take the 6 rounds of flat bread and cut each one in half. 11. Brush the top and bottom of each piece of bread with olive oil and sprinkle 1/2 cup nigella seeds on the top of three cut rounds (sesame seeds may be subsituted if nigella is not available). 12. After the patties have been on the grill for 5 minutes, brush each patty with olive oil and flip to the opposite side. Once the temperature of the patties have reached 165F they may be removed onto a clean cookie sheet. 13. Grill the flat bread for 2 minutes (1 min. on each side except for the seeded sides). 14. To assemble each of the 6 burgers: Place an unseeded half round of flat bread on bottom, place a patty on top of the bread. Take 2 oz. of the vinegar-soaked white onion on top of the patty. Sprinkle appproximately 1 tsp. of sumac on top of the onions. Take a seeded half round and spread approximately 2 tbsp. of the thickened yogurt on the unseeded side and place the round on top of the burger, yogurt side down. Enjoy!