Brown Rice and Lamb Burgers with Spinach
The rice gives these burgers an amazingly crisp crust and moist interior. Use ground turkey or beef instead of lamb if you like, and try topping the burgers with a little yogurt and lemon juice—it’s a nice touch.
1 cup brown rice
5 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1 pound spinach, roughly chopped
8 ounces ground lamb
1 small red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon cumin
1 ⁄ 4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1. Put the rice in a saucepan with a pinch of salt and add water to cover by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so that the mixture bubbles gently. Cover and cook until the rice is nearly done (it should be a little chewy and a little wet but not swimming), 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the rice to a mixing bowl.
2. Meanwhile, put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add 2 teaspoons of the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, just a minute or 2. Add the chopped spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the leaves are just wilted and cooked almost dry, 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and remove it from the pan. Wipe out the skillet.
3. Add the lamb, onion, oregano, cumin, feta, and the remaining 1 teaspoon garlic to the mixing bowl with the rice; stir just enough to combine all the ingredients but don’t overwork it. Form the mixture into 4 patties. (The dish can be made ahead to this point; cover the spinach and the patties and refrigerate for up to a few hours. Bring the spinach to room temperature before proceeding.)
4. Put the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the patties and cook, turning once and working in batches if necessary, until they are golden brown on both sides and the meat is just cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. To serve, put a burger on a mound of spinach and drizzle with the pan juices.