pita bread or hamburger buns (4)
For the burger meat:
1 pound ground lamb 80/20
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
2 cups chopped Chinese eggplant or any eggplant, peeled and cut into cubes
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
For the caramelized onions:
1 red onion, sliced
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
1-2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Toppings and condiments: tzaztiki sauce, ketchup, sliced tomatoes, bell peppers, pickles, feta, French fries
Place the chopped and peeled eggplant in a small pan with some olive oil and salt. Cook over medium heat about 10 minutes until very soft, turning to cook evenly. When the eggplant begins to absorb the oil and the pan is dry add water, enough to just coat the bottom of the pan. Keep adding water as is needed a little at a time so that the eggplant cooks softly. It should not become caramelized or crisp. This way it will melt into the burgers completely. Allow the eggplant to cool completely.
Place the onion slices in another pan with olive oil, salt and sugar. Cook about 10-12 minutes until soft and caramelized around the edges. Add the balsamic vinegar and crushed red pepper flakes if desired, stir well and remove from heat. Set aside.
Combine the ground lamb, salt, herbs, and spices in a bowl. Mix well to incorporate.
Add the cooled cooked eggplant and mix well, mashing it into the meat until well incorporated.
Add the crumbled feta and mix it without completely melting it into the burger meat. a few chunks should remain throughout the burgers.
Divide the meat into 4 equal portions. Form the burger patties. I used my 4 inch round cookie cutter to help form the burgers.
Heat up a cast iron grill pan on high heat. Brush some oil onto it. Place the burgers on the grill. Do not crowd the pan.
Grill the burgers for 5 minutes on each side for a medium well hamburger. Allow the burgers to rest 1-2 minutes after they are grilled so that they remain juicy.
Brush the buns with some of the oil from the onions and heat on the grill pan until heated through.
Place the burger on the warm bun, top with the caramelized onions and your favorite condiments. My tzaztiki (yogurt and cucumber) recipe is a must with these!