Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lamb, the other red meat

My husband and I have this geeky tradition of waking up on Saturday mornings, drinking our Diet It Up coffees (fat-free half & half and Splenda) and watching our favorite food shows on TV. Should I be at the gym instead? Probably. But the gym will still be there in a few hours. There’s something great about throwing on a big fluffy blanket and snuggling-up on the couch before attacking the day. Rachael was making Lamb Burgers with Tabbouleh Salad this week. Honestly, I stopped to watch the episode for the Tabbouleh. Even at 8AM, I was already getting psyched for dinner.

Tabbouleh is the kind of salad that makes me think of spring; tomatoes, cucumber, fresh herbs. Saturday was the first beautiful day since the ground was covered in snow and I thought this dish would well suit the sunshine. I was right. The veggies are crisp and refreshing. The dressing is tangy with lemon zest and lemon juice and the bulgur gives the salad a nice al dente texture. It’s fresh and bright and was surprisingly easy to make. I did read some of the recipe reviews on the Food Network site and some crazy people were up in arms that it isn’t true to the original Lebanese dish. Guess what people? I don’t care. If you expect Rachael Ray to be turning out traditional cultural food in 30 minutes, you’re crazy. Go eat at Grandma’s house. But this salad tastes great and it’s entirely more nutritionally balanced than a side order of French fries.

To go along with the salad, Rachael made these amazing lamb burgers. Lamb really isn’t my thing. It’s usually gamey and tough with lots of fatty pieces that require you to turn your dinner plate into a carving station so you don’t get a mouth full of animal fat. Gross! My mom always made lamb on Easter and I was the bratty kid who threw a fit and made my poor mother make me something different. Once difficult, always difficult! But, I’ve never had ground lamb before and I wanted to give it a try. We found this adorable German butcher in our neighborhood with men named Fritz and Hans wearing little white paper hats serving up wursts and kraut behind the counter. Some supermarkets sell ground lamb, but ours didn’t have it. Fritz saved the day.

I loved the texture of these burgers. They were nice and juicy without being greasy or fatty. The patties were very soft in the middle but had a nice crust from searing the outside. The spice combination was really interesting. It reminded me of some Moroccan food I’ve tried. You top the burgers with shredded raw red cabbage and red onion. This added the perfect amount of bitterness and crunch. Instead of ketchup (snooze!) you whip up a “tsatziki-like” Greek yogurt sauce. The whole package is served inside a toasted pita. I’m definitely going to use this trick for other burgers. I try to limit my carb intake and I also find that some burgers just have too much bread. I end up pulling the top of the bun completely off. The thin pita was the perfect wrapper for the meal. I did substitute fat-free greek yogurt and 100% whole wheat pita for a health boost. Otherwise, I made the dish as-is.

Open up your windows, let in some fresh air and enjoy spring!

* Get cooking. Let me know what you think. Love it? Hate it? I’m interested in hearing your feedback and suggestions.

Lamb on Foodista


  1. This dish looks so good, and although I had no idea what Tabbouleh was, I really wanted to try it. I got really excited, until I realized I had no idea what the main ingredient was. I expected the words "brown rice" to pop up under (that crazy lady) Rachel Ray's picture. But instead I faced the term BULGUR??? Trish, please help this Italian girl out before she has to Wiki it out...what is this stuff??

  2. I'm here with your bulgur answers! Bulgur is a whole grain. It's high in fiber and protein, very low in fat and contains a ton of vitamins (most importantly vitamin B and iron). It has a much lower glycemic index than rice or pasta so it keeps blood sugar levels stable. To keep it short, it's damn good for you!

  3. You are too fab....where is the best place I can get me some Bulgur? (lmao, I love this new word!!) And where in the store would I find it. (I am picturing myself losing during this episode of Supermarket Sweep.)

    I am going to try to make it for the fam on Easter. Would I serve it as an appetizer? Would that work in a house full of pasta-loving Italians about the have lasagna for Easter dinner? Or would it be better to wait it out and accompany a different meal?

    Thanks for your help!!

  4. HA! Supermarket Sweep! You should be able to get it in the supermarket. Our Stop and Shop has it in their "Organic foods" aisle in a bag near the rice and barley. I'm thinking it might be better to serve as a side dish. A bunch of hungry Italians might not be digging this before lasagna. I think it would be cool in place of another salad side dish, like potato salad or macaroni salad. Just my thoughts! :)