April 14, 2010

... Spiced Mini Burgers with Couscous Salad

I feel like I've been jabbering about lighter fare lately now that the weather's getting warmer, but don't you notice that your meals get a little lighter the later the sun is out?  Or is that just me?  Long gone is the heavy pasta, so long to the cozy comfort food... now it's all about chillin' and grillin'.

This is the second time I've made this recipe and it's just as good as I remember.  Mini burgers - a great reason to fire up the grill (yeah, ok, as if we need a reason!) paired with fresh, light couscous salad along side a few toasty pieces of pita bread (toasted on the grill, of course) and a dollop of creamy hummus.  You know what else it's great paired with?  An ice, cold brewski.  You know, if you like that sort of thing...

Spiced Mini Burgers with Couscous Salad
serves 4

1 (10 ounce) box couscous (1 1/2 cups)
1 pound ground beef
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
kosher salt and black pepper
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 scallions, sliced
4 plum tomatoes, quartered
1 seedless cucumber, cut into half-moons
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 (8 ounce) container hummus (optional)

Place the couscous in a large bowl and pour 1 1/2 cups hot tap water over the top.  Cover and let stand for 5 minutes; fluff with a fork.

Form the beef into 12 small 1/2-inch thick patties.  Sprinkle with the cumin, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the patties and cook to the desired doneness, 4 minutes per side for medium.

Toss the couscous with the scallions, tomatoes, cucumber, lemon juice, the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Serve with the burgers and hummus, if using.

Taylor's Notes:
First off, I used ground turkey instead of ground beef.  I buy the 85/15 variety, not the 97% fat free, because honestly, I'm probably already pushing it with Rich buying turkey over beef.  Second, I mix the seasonings in with the meat instead of just sprinkling them on top.  If I have the time, I like to do that a couple hours in advance and stick it in the refrigerator for all the flavors to meld together.  Third, we rarely cook meat inside during the spring and summer.  Why else do you have a grill?!

The couscous salad is just as easy as it sounds.  You can really add in whatever veggies you like.  Last time I made this I even tossed in some crumbled Feta... wish I had remembered that before now.  :)  

The hummus really is a nice addition.  It adds a delicious creaminess to the meal when you add a little dollop on top of the burgers.  


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