Now I've not been to Armenia before and I have very (very) limited experience with Armenian food. The inspiration for this burger comes from an Armenian friend who, when she learned about this book, insisted that an Armenian burger be included. And she was onto something! The allspice and cinnamon and clove lend a warming, even slightly numbing quality that is delicious. But do let me know if you make this and have any suggestions.
Armenian Lentil BurgerCrispy vegetables are wonderful with this—slices of cucumber and radish and romaine and red onion—on a toasted bun or stuffed into a warm pita. It’s also good with this easy yogurt sauce:
1 cup French lentils
2 T plus 1 t olive or grapeseed oil
1/2 onion, sliced into two quarters from the stem
2 whole cloves
1-inch piece ginger, sliced into two pieces
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cinnamon stick
1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1-3/4 t ground allspice
1/2 t ground cinnamon
2 pinches ground cloves
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 t grated fresh ginger
1/2 t salt
3/4 cup toasted breadcrumbs
Pick through the lentils and rinse thoroughly. Stud each of the onion quarters with a clove. In a lidded medium saucepan, heat the 1 teaspoon oil over medium high heat. Add the onion quarters, ginger pieces, garlic cloves, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. Stir, then cover and cook for one minute, until fragrant. Add the lentils and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Discard the aromatics (the onion, ginger, garlic, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf) and pour off any excess liquid.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-low heat. Add the chopped onion, ground allspice, ground cinnamon, ground cloves and cayenne. Fry for about 12 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to caramelize. Reduce the heat and add the garlic and ginger. Cook for about five minutes more, until the onions are fully cooked.
Set aside 1/2 cup of the cooked lentils. In a food processor, combine the remaining lentils, eggs, and onions, and pulse until thoroughly combined. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the reserved lentils, salt, lemon juice, and breadcrumbs. Adjust seasonings. Using your hands, shape the mixture into four large or six medium patties (or if you want to mimic the photo, you can make about a dozen mini-burgers).
To panfry: heat two tablespoons olive, grapeseed, or vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the burgers, in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, cooking 5 to 6 minutes on each side until browned and firmed.
To bake: Preheat oven 350-degrees. Place burgers on a lightly greased baking sheet for 15-20 minutes, until browned and firmed in the middle. Flip them over halfway through the baking time.
1/2 red onion, minced
2 t lemon juice
1/2 t salt
1 small cucumber
1 cup Greek-style plain yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint (loosely packed)
Combine the red onion and lemon juice and salt. Let stand while you grate or finely chop the cucumber. Stir in remaining ingredients. Adjust seasonings and serve.