Lamb Burgers with Bulgur and Mint | Wine Enthusiast
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Lamb Burgers with Bulgur and Mint

Recipe courtesy Maria Speck, author of Ancient Grains for Modern Meals (Ten Speed Press, 2011).

In tough times, grains were often added to meat to stretch each serving. This dish adds an extra flavor dimension, combining the nutty, rich flavor of bulgur with aromatic lamb in this take on Middle Eastern kofta, spiced lamb meatballs made with bulgur, cumin and cinnamon.


¾ cup medium-coarse or coarse bulgur
1 pound ground lamb
1 cup grated yellow onion
½ cup finely chopped fresh mint
¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 pinches cayenne pepper


Place the bulgur in a large bowl and cover with 1½ cups of hot water. Let sit until most of the water is absorbed and the kernels are tender with a bit of chew, about 20–30 minutes. Drain the bulgur in a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on the kernels with your hands to squeeze out as much of the water as possible.

Position a rack about 6 inches from the heat and preheat the broiler. Oil a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or the bottom portion of a broiler pan.

Return the bulgur to the bowl. Add the lamb and all the remaining ingredients. Combine thoroughly, but gently, with your hands, handling as little as possible. Shape mixture into 6 burgers, each about 3 inches in diameter, and place in a single layer in the prepared pan.

Brush the burgers with olive oil and broil until they start browning on top, about 10 minutes. Flip with a metal spatula, brush with oil again and broil until nicely browned, about 5 minutes more. Allow to rest for a few minutes before serving with garlic-spiked yogurt. Serves 6.

Pair It

A red Cotes du Rhône from the excellent 2010 vintage will have spicy notes that pair beautfiully with the rich flavors in these aromatic burgers, say Stephen Malarick, a Boston-area wine professional. Alain Jaume et Fils’s 2010 Domaine Grand Veneur Les Champanauvins is a juicy, full-bodied wine that highlights the burgers.