2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup finely chopped yellow onion (1 small onion)
2 TBS finely chopped garlic (about 4 medium cloves)
1 TBS finely chopped jalapeño pepper (1 medium size pepper)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1½ lbs ground round beef (85% lean), or turkey
1½ tsp ground cumin
1½ tsp dried oregano
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
4, 6” pita pockets (buns work too)
Thin red onion slices
Chimichurri Sauce (below)
In a medium skillet, heat 1 TBS of the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeño, and ¼ tsp salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl to cool. Then add the meat, cumin, oregano, cilantro, 1 tsp salt, and several grinds of pepper. Mix gently with your hands until just combined. Don’t overwork meat. Shape the meat into four burgers, ¾ inch thick and 4 inches across, working the meat as little as possible. Make a 1/4-inch dent in the center of each burger with the tips of your middle three fingers.
Put a large skillet or griddle, preferably cast iron, over high heat and let it get very hot, about 2 min. (The pan is hot enough when a drop of water evaporates instantly.) Add the remaining 1 TBS oil and tilt the pan to spread it evenly. Arrange the burgers so there’s as much space as possible between them, reduce the heat to medium high, and cook, uncovered, for 5 min. Turn and cook until the burger feels springy but not mushy when poked, about 3 minutes for medium rare (or longer if you’re concerned about undercooked meat).
Charcoal – Prepare a medium-hot fire. Cook the burgers, uncovered, on one side for 5 minutes. Turn and cook until the burgers feel springy but not mushy when poked, another 6 minutes for medium.
Gas – Heat the grill on high for about 10 minutes. Cook the burgers for 4 minutes with the lid closed. Turn burgers and cook with lid closed for 4 to 5 minutes longer for medium doneness. Burgers should feel springy but not mushy when poked.
Cut the top inch or so off the pitas to open up the pockets wide enough to fit the burgers. Serve the burgers in the pita with red onion and lettuce, and spoon in some chimichurri sauce.
1 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup packed fresh mint
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh lime juice (1½ limes)
2 Tbs. coarsely chopped garlic (5 medium cloves)
1 tsp. coarsely chopped jalapeño (from ¼ medium chile)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. kosher salt; more to taste
Put all ingredients in a food processor, or a blender, EXCEPT olive oil and lime juice. Pulse a few times to chop and mix. With motor running, drizzle in olive oil and lime juice. Process, stopping to scrape the bowl as often as needed, until puréed into a thick sauce. Add more salt to taste if needed and refrigerate until ready to use. This sauce will store in the refrigerator up to 4 days.