Tag Archives: lamb

Food Matters Project #34: Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach & Tzatziki Sauce

It’s another Monday post of the Food Matters Project.  This week we’re hosting the recipe, and have chosen Mark Bittman’s Brown Rice and Lamb Burgers with Spinach, from The Food Matters Cookbook.

To catch up all of our readers, we joined the Food Matters Project with these fellow bloggers last winter.  Each week we have a new host, who chooses a recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.  The recipes are your own interpretation, and it’s great to see the creativity from all of the blogging participants.  To read more about the project, check out the web site here, and this is our schedule.  We’d love to have you join in!

Sam and I had hosted one dish so far on Fifth Floor Kitchen.  Almost exactly a year ago we hosted the Vegetables au Vin with Coq.  If you’d like to see the rest of our recipe interpretations, check out this list.

To host our 2nd recipe we chose another delicious one, although as always, we did make some changes.  As you all know, we recently moved from a condo to a house.  One of the bigger changes (aside from having more space and a bigger kitchen), is that we can finally have a grill!  Our fantastic realtor, Peter Raia, got us a wonderful housewarming gift- a new grill! What perfect timing to enjoy a burger, especially since yesterday DC had amazing weather- sunny and in the 60’s!

Tzatziki Sauce

How did we change the recipe from Mark Bittman’s original?  First, we added a tzatziki sauce, rather than using feta cheese.  We also used less rice (he had 1 cup) and more onion (1 whole one).  The biggest change is he did not use burger buns as we did, instead he placed each burger on the bed of spinach (and more of it, 1 lb).  Check out what creative ideas other bloggers came up with here.

Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach

Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach & Tzatziki Sauce
Inspired & Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook

Servings: 4 patties

Tzatziki Sauce
16 oz plain Greek yogurt
9 sprigs of mint leaves
1/2 tsp salt
juice of 1/4 lemon
1 cucumber, peeled

Spinach
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups of fresh spinach, roughly chopped

Burger Patties
1 1/4 lb ground lamb
1/4 cup cooked rice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 red onion, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground sumac
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

4 burger buns

To make the tzatziki sauce, blend together the Greek yogurt, mint, salt, and lemon juice in a food processor.  Also add in 3/4 of the cucumber and puree it.  Scoop out the tzatziki sauce into a bowl.  Chop the remaining 1/4 cucumber, and add it into the bowl, stir.  The sauce can be made ahead of time, and actually tastes great when it’s served cold.

To make the spinach, add the olive oil to a large skillet and allow to heat up.  Once the olive oil is hot, then add the spinach to the pan.  Stir occasionally until the spinach begins to soften and wilt, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the pan.

To make the burgers, mix the following ingredients in a mixing bowl: ground lamb, cooked rice, garlic, red onion, cumin, sumac, salt, and pepper.  Mix the ingredients together and form 4 patties.  These can be made ahead of time, or be added onto a grill right away.  Grill to 6-8 minutes on each side, depending on your preference of cooked meat.  If you do not have a grill, you can still make these on a skilled over medium-high heat, cooking the patties for about the same time until they are cooked through.

To make the burgers, place some spinach on the bun, then the burger patty.  Lastly, drizzle with tzatziki sauce.  Feel free to add tomato or onion slices.  Enjoy!

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Food Matters Project #33: Lamb, Carrot & Turnip Stuffed Cabbage

After moving, we’re back cooking in the kitchen!  Can’t wait to tell you more about our new house, but this first post will be a Food Matters Project recipe.

This weeks recipe was chosen by Keely Marie.  She has hosted a Food Matters Project before, the Cassoulet with Lots of Vegetables (her version; our version was the Vegetable & Bean Casserole).  This time around she has chosen Mark Bittman’s version of Rolled Cabbage.  Check out Keely Marie’s Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, and also take a look what other participants made.

We’ve moved into our new house, but there are many boxes which are still unpacked.  Therefore, I was unable to find my copy of Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook.  As we have been searching for the pizza cutter and our wooden spoons, I made my own version of stuffed cabbage.

Stuffed Cabbage

Fortunately, thanks to my Polish heritage, I knew exactly what I wanted to put in these, and how I wanted to cook them.  This version is not like my Mom’s, or traditionally Polish- I’m saving that for another blog post.  Until then, enjoy these- they are very filling after a busy day of unpacking and organizing.

Stuffed Cabbage 2

Rice & Lamb Stuffed Cabbage

Stuffing
1 cup uncooked rice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 carrots, peeled & grated
4 small turnips, peeled & grated
1 lb ground lamb
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Sauce
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 carrots, peeled & chopped
4 small turnips, peeled & chopped
2 32oz cans of crushed tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

1 head of green cabbage

To make the stuffing, cook the rice per package instructions.  Once the rice is cooked, transfer it to a bowl.

In a large saucepan, heat up the olive oil.  Saute the onion for about 5 minutes, until it is translucent.  Next, add in the garlic, carrots and turnips and cook for another 5 minutes.  Finally, add in the ground lamb, and saute until the meat is cooked, about 10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer the stuffing to the bowl filled with rice, stir all of the ingredients together.

To make the sauce, mix together the onion, garlic, carrots, turnips, tomatoes, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes in a bowl.  Then add the ingredients into a saucepan, over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and continue to simmer for at least 20 minutes.  Stir the sauce every couple of minutes.

As the meat mixture is cooling off, and the sauce is cooking, prepare the cabbage.  Cut out the stem from the inside of the cabbage.  Then peel off each cabbage leaf from the head.  Once you have all of your leaves, begin to boil a large pot of water.  Once there is a rolling boil, add 2 leaves into the pot at a time, and cook them for about 1-2 minutes.  Carefully remove the leaves from the water, transfer them to a colander, then rinse with cold water.  Repeat with the remaining leaves, gently squeezing out the excess water.

Finally, lay a cabbage leaf on the work surface, with the edge side facing you.  Then add in a couple of spoonfuls of the stuffing (rice, veggies, meat) into the middle of the leaf.  Next, fold the outside edges in, and roll away from you.  This technique should be very similar to rolling a burrito.  Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Place each of the cabbage rolls, seam side down, into an oven-proof dish.  Pour the tomato sauce over all of the cabbage rolls.  Then bake in the oven for about 25 minutes.  Pull it out of the oven, and serve!

Lamb Shepherd’s Pie in a Mason Jar

Two nights before our wedding we got a box with presents from our registry- it was one of the first ones, and I got really excited (it felt like an early Christmas!).  First, I pulled out a set of dessert plates I’ve been eying for some time, but there was also a cute cookbook which I didn’t have on my list.

As any food blogger would do, I flipped through the cookbook- Handheld Pies: Dozens of Pint-Sized Sweets & Savories by Sarah Billingsley & Rachel Wharton- and picked out my favorite recipes.  Immediately, I opened to the page with Shepherd’s Pie on it, and I knew this was going to be the first recipe I would make.  Since we still had a wedding, and a honeymoon I knew it’d be a couple of weeks- but the moment we came home this recipe was immediately on my “to cook” list!

Using mason jar’s was a great idea for this dish- it kept everything in equal servings, and it was so easy to store, heat up, and take to work.  The book suggested using smaller mason jars, but since I only had the medium size, this is what I used.  With nights getting colder, this is the perfect dish to wrap your hands around the mason jar to keep warm, and your tummy full!

Thank you Jen & Neil- this is a great addition to our cookbook collection!

Shepherd’s Pie in a Mason Jar
Adapted from: Handheld Pies: Dozens of Pint-Size Sweets & Savories

You can use lamb, beef or tofu crumbles- all would be great with this dish.  If there are other veggies you’d like to add in here, definitely do- we stuck with the traditional version the first time around.

3 russet or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled & quartered
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled & finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground lamb
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup green peas
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

In a medium pot, add the potatoes and water (so it covers the potatoes) and bring the water to a boil.  Then reduce the heat to medium, and cover the pot.  Cook until the potatoes are tender, when pierced with a fork (about 20-30 minutes).

When the potatoes are cooked, drain them.  In a large bowl, mash them using a potato masher (or mixer).  Then add the milk, cheese, butter, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper- stir well.

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Then add in the onion, carrots, and celery and cook, until the onions are translucent.  Next, add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.  Add the lamb and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon and stirring frequently until it is browned, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the vegetable broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Finally, add the peas, red pepper flakes, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper and stir well.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Place 6 medium-sized mason jars on a baking sheet.

First divide all of the meat mixture, then the mashed potatoes into all of the jars.  Place the jars and banking sheet on the top rack of the oven and bake for about 15 minutes (or until the potatoes turn golden).

The pies can be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.  Reheat at 350ºF for 15 minutes.