Lamb Pitas with Yogurt Sauce


As long as I’ve been cooking I’ve entertained romantic notions of starting my day with a cup of coffee, surrounded by my favorite cookbooks, planning the ultimate gourmet dinner.  Mid morning I’d head off to the market (Borough Market, in my dreams) to buy lovely, fresh ingredients.  The rest of the day would be spent, favorite tunes playing in the background, tinkering around the kitchen, laboring over my four-course manifesto.


And why shouldn’t this be my reality?  My girls are in school full-time, I don’t have a day job pulling me away – in theory I should have all the time in the world.


But then I find myself torn in all different directions, barely making it to the grocery store and getting a home cooked meal on the table.


So I’ve found a middle ground – it’s not a four-course meal but it’s not an eggs and toast kind of dinner either.  And I actually did enjoy a cup of coffee while looking through some of my favorite cookbooks to find this gem.


These lamb patties and the accompanying yogurt sauce are packed with flavor.   Easy to make, the lamb freezes nicely, so make them ahead of time – double the batch, if you like – and defrost as needed.


One day I will plan that perfect meal, shop for it at Borough Market and leisurely prepare it all afternoon.  But until then, I’ll enjoy my lamb pitas.

1 year ago: Asian Lettuce Wraps

Lamb Pitas with Yogurt Sauce (serves 4)

Note:  For the ground/minced lamb, 85% lean is ideal, but if you can’t find that particular type, go for the leanest.

Lamb Meatballs:

4 pita breads (about 8″/20 cm)

1/2 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper

1 pound (455 grams) lean ground/minced lamb

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Yogurt Sauce:

1 cup (250 ml) plain Greek yogurt

3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon lemon juice


1 cup (150 grams) chopped cucumber

1 cup (200 grams) chopped tomato

Cut top 2″ / 5 cm from each pita bread round (should have about 2 oz / 60 g pita scraps).  Process pita scraps, onion, garlic, lemon juice, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in food processor into a smooth paste.  Transfer mixture to a medium-large bowl, then add lamb and mix until well combined.  Divide mixture into 12 equal portions, then press into 0.5″ / 1 cm thick patties.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Cook patties until well browned and cooked through, 3-5 minutes per side.  Transfer to paper towel-lined plate and tent with foil.

To make the sauce, whisk yogurt, mint, garlic and lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper.  Warm pitas in microwave for 30 seconds.  Place 3 patties in each pita and top with sauce, cucumber and tomato.

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen “The Best Simple Recipes”

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