A sharp-sweet red onion relish works well with burgers based in Middle-Eastern style lamb. Serve with pita bread and tabbouleh or with fries and a crisp green salad.

  • 25 g / 1 oz / 3 tbsp bulgur wheat
  • 500 g / 1¼ lb lean minced (ground) lamb
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 5 ml / 1 tsp ground toasted cumin seeds
  • 2.5 ml / ½ tsp ground sumac
  • 15 g / ½ oz chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 30 ml / 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • olive oil, for frying
  • salt and ground black pepper
For the relish
  • 2 red (bell) peppers, halved and seeded
  • 2 red onions, cut into 5 mm / ¼ in thick slices
  • 75-90 ml / 5-6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 350 g / 12 oz cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • ½-1 fresh red or green chilli, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
  • 30 ml / 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 30 ml / 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 15 ml / 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 2.5-5 ml / ½-1 tsp sumac
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • caster (superfine) sugar, to taste
  1. Pour 150 ml / ¼ pint / ⅔ cup hot water over the bulgur wheat in a bowl and leave to stand for 15 minutes, then drain in a sieve and squeeze out the excess moisture.
  2. Place the bulgur wheat in a bowl and add the minced lamb, onion, garlic, chilli, cumin, sumac, parsley, and mint. Mix the ingredients thoroughly together by hand, then season with 5 ml / 1 tsp salt and plenty of black pepper and mix again. Form the mixture into eight small burgers and set aside in the refrigerator while you make the relish.
  3. Grill (broil) the peppers, skin side up, until the skin chars and blisters. Place in a bowl, cover, and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Peel off the skin, dice the peppers finely, and place in a bowl.
  4. Brush the onions with 15 ml / 1 tbsp oil and grill for 5 minutes on each side, until browned. Cool, then chop.
  5. Add the onions, tomatoes, chilli to taste, the mint, parsley, oregano, and 2.5 / ½ tsp each of the cumin and sumac to the peppers. Stir in 60 ml / 4 tbsp of the remaining oil and 15 ml / 1 tbsp of the lemon juice. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar and leave to stand for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Heat a heavy frying pan or a ridged, cast-iron griddle pan over a high heat and grease lightly with olive oil. Cook the burgers for about 5-6 minutes on each side, until cooked at the centre.
  7. While the burgers are cooking, taste the relish and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, sugar, oil, chilli, cumin, sumac, and lemon juice to taste. Serve the burgers as soon as they are cooked, with the relish.
Lamb Burger With Red Onion And Tomato Relish