Greek-Style Lamb Burgers

If you like Greek food, you'll love these warm toasted pitas stuffed with flavorful ground lamb patties, tzatziki, feta and fresh vegetables. It’s Mediterranean street food at its best — a fun, delicious alternative to your standard cookout fare.

Greek-Style Lamb Burgers

makes 6 burgers (enough for 3-4 people)

for lamb burgers

1 slice white bread, crust removed and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots (you’ll need one or two shallots)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb (not lean)
6 pita bread rounds (see note below)

optional toppings
1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
6 ounces crumbled feta cheese
Tzatziki (get recipe here)

Be sure grill is clean and preheat to high.

Combine bread pieces and milk in a medium bowl. Mash with a fork until paste forms. Add shallots, garlic, mint, oregano, salt, pepper and mix well. Add lamb, then use your hand to mix ingredients together until well combined. Do not over mix. Form mixture into 6 oval-shaped patties about 1/2-inch thick.

Grease grill (dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil and holding wad with tongs, carefully wipe cooking grate several times). Grill patties, covered, for 4 minutes. Turn, cover again, and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes more. Place burgers on a tray and cover with foil while you warm pita rounds on the grill. Assemble burgers and pass remaining tzatziki alongside.

*There are two types of pita bread: pita pockets and pocketless pitas. You can use either for this recipe. For pita pockets, be sure they are at least 6 inches wide. Trim off the top 1/4 of each round and stuff the burgers and toppings inside. For pocketless pitas, serve burgers open-faced or, if pitas are large enough, wrap them around burgers.

*If you're entertaining, lamb patties can be made a day ahead of time. Place them on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil and cover tightly with saran wrap.Tzatziki can be made two days ahead of time.

*For kids, try serving burgers with ketchup.

Jennifer Segal is the founder and publisher of Once Upon a Chef, a cooking blog featuring easy and elegant recipes. Before launching her blog, Jennifer earned her culinary stripes working front and back of the house at some of DC's top fine dining restaurants, including L'Auberge Chez Francois, Sam & Harry's and The Caucus Room.

She has also done private catering and restaurant public relations. Jennifer is a graduate of the professional Culinary Arts Program at L'Academie de Cuisine.