Greek-Style Lamb Pita Sandwiches

I have a new-found love . . . my Cooking for Two cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen from 2009.

Sorry Ina and Giada there is a new favorite book in the house and it does not involve either of you. I do feel awful cheating on you both but I promise I would not have done it if it wasn’t worth it. And this book is worth it.

As you all already know I love my mom. I especially love her when she lets me raid her cookbook collection and then proceeds to buy me the cookbooks she is not willing to part without. This cookbook was definitely one of them. It’s a bit hard to find because it is out of print (in fact the copy that I own happens to be an old library book) but worth a look.

I find that most people I know attempt ambitious dinners for Sunday night – they have the weekend to flip through cookbooks or magazines, grab all the necessary ingredients, and spend the entire day cooking. I wish I could say that this was me. In fact, I think I aspire to be one of those people but come Sunday I am literally exhausted from my weekend.

After 4 years of living in California you would think I would get used to the idea that I can be outside year round, but I can not. I keep telling myself that I will stay in the following weekend to clean the closets, cook a stew or catch up on the stack of magazines I am collecting but then it is sunny out or above 50 and the plan goes out the window. I feel guilty sitting inside when it is so nice outside so I, in turn, over plan myself and then it comes time for dinner on Sunday night and I am spent.

Last Sunday I could not bear the thought of another turkey burger dinner so to the cookbooks I turned and stumbled on a recipe for lamb pita sandwiches. It seemed like the perfect solution to my turkey burger rut and it was. Not only was it super easy to make it was also delicious! I have found a new Sunday night dinner go to (or even weekday!).

The lamb meat is juicy and tender and the home-made tzatziki could not be easier. This is a definite make again meal and does not even need any tweaks. I heart you America’s Test Kitchen!

Greek-Style Lamb Pita Sandwiches with Tzatziki Sauce (Cooking for Two America’s Test Kitchen 2009)

Serves 2

Tzatziki Sauce

1/4 cucumber, peeled, halved, and seeded, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)

salt

1/2 cup Greek Yogurt (I used non-fat FAGE)

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 small garlic clove, minced

2 tsps chopped fresh dill

Pita Sandwiches

2 (8-inch) pita breads with pockets

1 small onion, chopped coarse (about 1/2 cup)

2 tsps fresh lemon juice

2 tsps minced fresh dill

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

8 oz ground lamb

2 tsps vegetable oil

1 small tomato, sliced thin, for serving

1 c shredded iceberg lettuce, for serving (I used romaine hearts)

1 oz feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/4 cup), for serving

 

For the Tzatziki Sauce:

Toss the cucumber with 1/8 tsp salt in a colander set over a bowl and let drain for 30 minutes.

Combine the yogurt, drained, cucumber, lemon juice, garlic, and dill in a bowl and season with salt to taste.

 

For the Pita Sandwiches:

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 F. Trim the top quarter off each pita bread, then tear the trimmed quarters in to 1-inch pieces (you should have about 1/2 cup of pita pieces.) Stack the pitas and warp tightly with foil.

 

Process the onion, lemon juice, dill, garlic, salt, pepper, and pita bread pieces in a food processor to make a smooth paste, about 30 seconds, then transfer to a medium bowl. Add the lamb and gently mix with your hands until thoroughly combined. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and roll into balls. Gently flatten the balls into round disks, about 1/2 inch thick and 2 1/2 inches in diameter.

 

Place the foil-wrapped pitas directly on the oven rack and heat for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the patties and cook until well browned and a crust forms, 3 to 4 minutes.

 

Flip the patties, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until well browned and a crust forms on the second side, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer the patties to a paper towel-lined plate.

 

Spread 1/4 cup of the tzatziki sauce inside each pita. Divide the patties evenly among the pitas and add half of the tomato slices, 1/2 cup shredded lettuce, and 2 tbsp feta to each sandwich.

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