A savory and flavorful lamb patty atop fluffy bulgur pilaf amped up with toasted pinions, and topped with a creamy yogurt sauce… Greek Lamb Patties with Yogurt Sauce & Bulgur Pilaf is perfect for a casual dinner party, and easy enough for a weeknight dinner!
Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.
~~ Henry Van Dyke, American author, educator, and clergyman.
When I began preparing for this post over the past few days, I anticipated the joyous and much-anticipated reunion with my “kids” and close friends in Las Cruces, and tried to make sure my recently revived blog wouldn’t suffer while I play. My recipe for Greek Lamb Patties with Yogurt Sauce & Bulgur Pilaf came together easily as I’ve made various versions of this dish for years… The photos posed no problem as my beloved was on hand to help me set up and shoot them Sunday evening. Now I’m sitting in the El Paso International Airport awaiting the arrival of some very important loved ones – my kids and my BFF. Right now time is slow… and I know that the week ahead will be far too short, but we will eat, drink, and be merry, as we do so well when we’re all together. 🙂
I love ground lamb, and until I moved to McAllen, I could never count on finding it at the local market. Ground lamb is widely available here, and I’m enjoying fine-tuning recipes I’ve made sporadically over the years, and sharing them with my readers. Ground lamb is not really a lean choice, so I do recommend watching your portion size on this dish. The addition of garbanzos (chick peas) adds interesting texture to the patties, cuts the fat per serving, and bumps up the protein slightly. The sauce is made with yogurt, and adds a lovely fresh and creamy note. The bulgur pilaf brings whole grain goodness to the dish, and the addition of piñions (pine nuts) makes it irresistible… 😉 A Greek salad with crispy romaine, cucumbers, kalamata olives, and feta topped with a simple olive oil and lemon juice dressing is a perfect complement to this meal. I would not hesitate to serve this for a casual dinner party, but it’s simple enough for a weeknight supper.
My work flow goes something like this: Combine the ingredients for the lamb patties. They’re basically just a meatloaf/meatball mixture. Portion into 5-6 patties. One patty with a serving of pilaf and a Greek side salad is a reasonable amount of food. Serve it on a salad plate rather than a larger dinner plate, and it looks quite generous! I like to remind my readers the importance of portion control in eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight. 😀 A leftover patty is delicious the next day for lunch…
When the lamb mixture is ready to cook, start the pilaf. Read the instructions on the package of your bulgur. I like to use the #2 “medium” grind, but you can use the coarse grind as well. Typically, the fine grind is used as a grain filler in meat mixtures like kibbeh. The main consideration with the bulgur you choose is how it absorbs liquid. The amount of liquid varies, as does the cooking time. My #2 medium grind bulgur requires a ratio of 1:2 bulgur to liquid. Some medium grind bulgur specifies a ration of 1:2.5. I’ve usually felt the additional liquid makes the grains a little mushy or leaves liquid in the bottom of the pot. When you make your pilaf, simply add the amount of liquid that your package instructs, and cook for the specified time. I feel broth/stock improves the flavor of the pilaf, but you can certainly substitute water.
Once the pilaf is covered and simmering, whisk the yogurt sauce together. If you’re making a salad to accompany the dish, prep that as well. Lastly, cook the lamb patties on a hot griddle. They’ll require about 10 minutes to cook. Keep an eye on the pilaf, and when it is done, add the parsley and piñions, fluff it with a fork, and replace the lid until ready to plate the dish. It really is that simple!
As I finish writing this post, I am enjoying coffee with Evan, Sarah, and Devin in Las Cruces. I always say “they feed my soul.” The transition from Las Cruces to McAllen has been a difficult one for all of us, and this trip will definitely improve my outlook when I return home to McAllen in a few days. Sunday, we’re looking forward to working on a future blog post and recipe – together as a family. Life is good!
Greek Lamb Patties with Yogurt Sauce & Bulgur Pilaf
- 1/2 cup garbanzos chick peas
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- a handful of fresh dill*
- a handful of fresh parsley leaves
- 1 egg
- 1 pound lean ground lamb
- 4 scallions very finely chopped
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1/2 cup grated feta
- 1 teaspoon salt*
- several grinds pepper
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup bulgur*
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts toasted
- 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley chopped
- several grinds pepper
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill*
* See Notes
- To the bowl of a small food processor, add garbanzos, garlic, dill, parsley, and egg. Pulse until herbs are finely chopped, and mixture is well-combined.
- In a mixing bowl, combine herb mixture, lamb, and remaining ingredients. Using your hands or a spatula, combine ingredients until evenly distributed. Form 4-6 patties. Set aside while you start the pilaf.
- Bring broth to a boil. Add bulgur, reduce heat to a simmer, add oregano and salt. Cover.
- Cook according to package instructions. Times vary.
- Toast pine nuts in a dry skillet.
- When bulgur is tender, add pine nuts and parsley, a couple grinds of pepper, and fluff with a fork. Check seasoning. Make yogurt sauce while bulgur cooks.
- Combine yogurt, lemon zest, and dill. Slice lemon to garnish plate if desired.
- Plate the pilaf, place patty atop, and garnish with a dollop of yogurt and a lemon slice.
Substitute about 1/2 teaspoon of dried dill for the fresh if necessary.
Bulgur comes in various grinds, from coarse to fine. I like #2 (medium), but the coarse grind works well in pilaf too. Follow instructions on package for amount of liquid and cooking time.