Monday, March 11, 2013


 This week for our Food Matters Project Evi and Sam of Fifth Floor Kitchen chose Mark Bittman's recipe for Brown Rice and Lamb Burgers with Spinach. I decided to give his recipe a Middle Eastern twist and made Turkey and Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin. These burgers are juicy, flavorful, and the cayenne pepper gives it nice kick. To put these burgers over the top serve them with the Sumac and Sour Cream Sauce. With Middle Eastern cuisine becoming my new passion I have found that sumac is my new "it" spice. Sumac is a decorative bush that grows in the Middle East and parts of Italy. The berries are dried or ground. I'm using the ground which has a tart, lemony flavor. I have used it with hummus, sprinkled on pita and toasted, in salads and in meat dishes. Here it adds a nice sharpness to the sour cream and yogurt sauce.

I served the burgers (made larger than the recipe calls for) with Wheat berries & Swiss chard with pomegranate molasses, and warm lavash.

Turkey & Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion & Cumin

Serves 4 to 6; makes about 18 small burgers

1 pound ground turkey
1 large zucchini, coarsely grated (scant 2 cups total)
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 large free-range egg
2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
about 6 tablespoons sunflower oil, for searing

Sour cream & sumac sauce

1/2 scant cup sour cream
2/3 scant cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sumac
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Make the sour cream sauce first by placing all the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well and set aside or chill until needed. 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the burgers except the sunflower oil. Mix with your hands and then shape into about 18 rounded burgers of about 1½ ounces each. 

Pour enough sunflower oil into a large frying pan to form a layer about 1/16-inch thick. Heat over medium heat until hot, then sear the burgers, in batches, on all sides. Cook each batch for about 4 minutes, adding oil as needed, until golden brown. 

Carefully transfer the seared burgers to a baking sheet lined with waxed paper and place in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until just cooked through. Serve warm or at room temperature, with the sauce spooned over or on the side.

Recipe from Jerusalem the cookbook


Anonymous said...

This looks amazing! We had the same idea for Middle Eastern/Greek, and used sumac as well! But I love how you put together this for dinner- it'd be perfect for visitors/dinner party!

Lexi said...

Evi, the burgers with the sumac sour cream sauce were so good! Thank you!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Lexi, I would much prefer this turkey burger over a lamb burger. And this sounds like a really nice combination of flavors and textures.

Lexi said...

Thank you Jean!