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Middle-Terranean Kofta Inspired Burger with Rutabaga Slaw

Middle Eastern food is big here in the metropolitan Detroit area. My favorite dish is Shish Kofta. I have burgerized my favorite flavors here.

Ingredients 

Rutabaga Slaw:
1 Cup Shredded Rutabaga
2 Tbsp. Bread & Butter Sweet Pickles, Chopped
2 Tbsp. Dill Pickle Slices, Chopped
2 Tbsp. Mild Pepper Rings (Pepperoncini Style), Chopped
2 Tbsp. Beets (canned), chopped
2 tsp. Sweet Pickle juice
2 tsp. Mild Pepper Ring Juice
1 tsp. Dill Pickle Juice
1 tsp. Beet juice
Conservative Pinch Black Pepper

Tzatziki Sauce:
½ English Cucumber (relatively large in size), Shredded
½ tsp. Salt
1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt ("full fat", not non-fat or reduced fat)
1 tsp. Garlic Paste
1 tsp. Olive Oil
½ tsp. Fresh Lemon Juice

"Kofta" Patties:
6 Cloves Garlic
1 Large Onion
1/3 Cup Parsley, Chopped
1 tsp. Ground Coriander
1 tsp. Ground Cumin
½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
½ tsp. Ground Allspice
½ Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
¼ tsp. Ground Ginger
2 tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Ground Black Pepper
6 Walnut Halves
6 Cashews
6 Almonds
2 Tbsp. Raisins
2 lbs. Ground Chuck (80% lean)

Fatoush:
3 Cups Romaine Lettuce (approximately 9 leaves), Julienned,
12 Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
2 Tbsp. Parsley, Chopped
¼ Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
¼ Cup Olive Oil
3 tsp. Sumac
½ tsp. Salt
1/3 Cup Pita Chips, broken into bite sized pieces

Vegetable oil for brushing on grill rack
6 Sandwich size slices of Monterey Jack cheese
6 Good Quality Kaiser Rolls, sliced so that the bottom represents 1/3 and the top 2/3 of the height, with the top of each roll hollowed out slightly to accommodate toppings.
6 Tbsp. Butter, Softened
8 oz. Prepared Hummus

Instructions 

To prepare rutabaga slaw, remove waxy outer layer of rutabaga with a vegetable peeler down to the light orange flesh of the vegetable, taking care to remove anything that appears green. Cut rutabaga into manageable pieces, shred enough to make 1 cup, and toss together with all the remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until assembly of the burgers.

To prepare Tzatziki sauce, shred cucumber using the large holes of a box grater. Work salt into cucumber with your hands. Place cucumber in a sieve for 20 minutes to drain off liquid, then press cucumber against sieve with the back of a spoon and squeeze mixture between hands to extract as much liquid as possible. Combine together cucumber, garlic paste, olive oil and lemon. You should not need more salt at this point, but this will depend to some extent on the salt content of the yogurt. Take a taste, and if needed add a little pinch. There will also be salt in the other ingredients as you assemble the burgers, and the yogurt sauce in meant to have a mellowing effect, so be careful not to over-salt. Cover and refrigerate until burger assembly.

To make the patties, very finely mince (puree without liquefying) garlic and onion in a food processor, and add to parsley. Combine coriander, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne, ginger, salt and black pepper, working out any lumps with the back of a spoon, then add to garlic and onion mixture and mix well. Coarsely chop nuts. Add garlic, onion and spice mix, chopped nuts and raisins to ground chuck, and work the entire mixture together with a fork. The proper technique here is "fold and twist". You are inserting the fork into the mixture and twisting over-and-over to mix ingredients, periodically folding the mixture in on itself, rather mashing the meat together. Divide meat mixture into 6 equal portions, form 6 patties and refrigerate until ready to grill.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make Fatoush, combine Romaine, tomatoes, and parsley. Whisk olive oil into lemon juice until a dressing begins to form, continue whisking and add sumac and salt. Toss dressing together with salad mix and pita chips. Set aside in refrigerator until burger assembly.

Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. These burgers may want to break apart on you cook because of the nuts and raisins, so handle them carefully before begin. Once they begin to cook, the meat will hold everything in. Gently place the patties on the rack, cover and cook on one side 4 to 5 minutes. Gently turn once using your fingers to break the burgers fall, and cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Place cheese on burger and cook another minute or two. Very lightly butter the cut sides of the rolls, place on the rack during the last minute of cooking, and toast only until light golden brown (a minute or so). Actually, most times I don’t even grill the buns, so if you choose not to do so, the soft chewy bun will compliment the burger just fine.

To assemble burgers, place 1 Tbsp. prepared hummus on each bottom slice of the Kaiser rolls. Place a burger on bottom slice and top with 1 ½ Tbsp. rutabaga slaw. In each Kaiser top, first spread 1 Tbsp. Tzatziki sauce, 1/6 of the Fatoush salad (making sure 4 tomato halves are on each. Add the top to the bottom and enjoy!

Comments 

I buy sumac from my local indian grocer. There really is no substitute for its distinctly middle eastern flavor, however, I have used oregano on occasion and it was fine.