Last Night’s Dinner: Balkan Burgers

Filed in Gather Food Essential by on March 5, 2010 0 Comments

This was last night’s dinner – I adapted the recipe from the NY Times food section. These came out excellent and there was lots of Kajmak (yogurt mixture) as a dip for some other time. Extra Ajvar leftover too. I took the recipe for the Ajvar from somewhere on the internet but I omitted the eggplant as we had none and no one in the house likes it.

I really liked these. They were delicious.

Balkan Burgers

For burgers:
1 lb meatloaf mix*
1/4 cup onions, finely ground
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp sparkling water
4 whole wheat pita breads**
Kajmak With Herbs:
1/2-8 oz block cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
4 oz ricotta cheese
4 oz sour cream
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
salt and black pepper, to taste
Ajvak:
3 roasted red peppers
3/4 cup olive oil
1 lg onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp lemon juice
2tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
parsley, chopped

For burgers:

In a large bowl, place meat, 1/2 cu onions, salt, pepper and sparkling water. Using hands, lightly combine ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.

Divide mixture into 3 equal balls. Place one ball between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and using heel of hand, pound it to a thin patty (1/4″ thick and 6″ in diameter). Repeat with remaining meat; refrigerate patties for 1 hour.

Heat a grill or heavy skillet to very hot. Cook patties, turning often, until well browned on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Cut pita breads in half horizontally, and serve burgers between pieces of pita, sprinkle with onions and spread with Kajmak and Ajvar.

Makes 3 burgers.

For Kajmak with Herbs: Bring cream cheese, butter, ricotta and sour cream to room temperature. In a mixer or a food processor, combine cream cheese and butter and mix until fluffy and smooth. Mix in ricotta and sour cream. Add remaining ingredients and mix or process until thoroughly incorporated. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 3 days. Serve with Balkan Burgers or as a dip.

For Ajvar: Chop up peppers. Place in blender. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large skillet and cook onion with garlic, until soft. Add to blender and, while running, drizzle in olive oil.

Add lemon juice and vinegar, salt and pepper. Blend briefly. Place in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

Risa’s notes:

* Meatloaf mix is even amounts of ground beef, ground pork and ground veal used for meatloaf and meatballs. It is sold in packages in the fresh meat case at thesupermarket. Original recipe calls for 1 lb each of ground beef (chuck), ground pork and ground veal.
** original just calls for pita bread.

Yield: 3 servings
Source: NY Times 1/20/10
Posted by RisaG 3/5/10

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