Pork and Oregano Patties, Hummus and Pickled Cucumber

This is a lovely plate of food, a good mix of textures as well as interesting yet subtle flavours. Pork mince is flavoured with oregano, lemon zest and leeks, held firm with egg yolk and softened by breadcrumbs in milk. These slim little burgers are dipped in the leftover egg white beaten into a fluff and fried to burnish the surface, the heat then reduced to cook through to the middle. They could be eaten burger-style, in buns or tortilla wraps but are good with something creamy and here, it’s a sloppy version of hummus made with the addition of tahini. This combination is very good with sweet-pickled cucumber with additional crunch from a few salad leaves tossed with leftover peas and green beans. Pickled cucumber and hummus, incidentally, could both be made in advance. Both keep well for a few days in the fridge.

Serves 2, generously

Prep: 35 min

Cook: 20 min

Pickled cucumber:

½ cucumber

½ tsp white sugar

2 tbsp white wine vinegar


100g trimmed leek

knob of butter

1 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs

2tbsp milk

400g minced pork

1 tbsp oregano leaves

1 lemon

flour for dusting

2 tbsp vegetable oil


400g can chickpeas

2 garlic cloves

1 lemon

¼ tsp ground cumin

shake Tabasco

1 tbsp tahini

approx 6 tbsp olive oil

     Begin by slicing and salting the cucumber. Ideally, use a mandolin; you want wafer-thin slices of unpeeled cucumber. Spread out in a mixing bowl or on a large plate or tray and dust with 1 tbsp salt. Leave while you get on with other jobs. Stir the breadcrumbs into the milk and leave to soak. Quarter the trimmed leeks lengthways then slice across the pieces to make tiny scraps. Tip into a colander and rinse thoroughly. Melt the butter in 1 tbsp olive oil in a spacious, lidded frying/sauté pan. Stir in the leeks, add a generous pinch of salt and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 5 or 6 minutes over a medium-low heat until soft and juicy. Microplane the lemon zest over the top. Chop the oregano and add that too. Stir well. Cover and leave off the heat while you separate the egg; white into a mixing bowl and yolk into a second mixing bowl. Crumble the meat over the egg yolk and add spoonfuls of milky crumbs. Add leeks and use a fork to mix thoroughly, then use your hands to mulch as if working dough. With wet hands, pinch off sufficient mixture to form 8 small patties; it’s easiest to divide the mix in half and make 4 from each half. Pat between your hands to make patties approximately 1cm thick. Place on a plate as you work. Cover the plate with a stretch of clingfilm and chill for at least 20 minutes and as much as 24 hours. When you are ready to cook the patties, dust them with flour. Whisk the egg white until foamy and more than doubled in size. Swipe each patty through the egg white and return to the plate. Heat the oil in a spacious frying/sauté pan over a medium heat and lay out the patties. Use a metal spatula or egg slice to deftly turn after a couple of minutes and brown the other side. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook fur a further 5 minutes a side or until you are satisfied they are cooked through. This final cooking, could be done in a hot oven (200C/gas mark 6). To finish the pickled cucumber, dissolve the sugar in the vinegar in a jam jar. Rinse the salt from the cucumber and dry as best you can in kitchen paper or a clean tea towel. Stir the wilted cu into the vinegar. Chill until required. To make the hummus, drain the chickpeas saving some of the liquid. Place in the bowl of a food processor with peeled and crushed garlic, lemon juice, cumin, a generous seasoning salt and black pepper, tahini, Tabasco and 2 tbsp olive oil. Blitz to roughly chop, scraping down inside the bowl a couple of times. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream. Continue until very smooth, adding extra olive oil or lemon juice for the texture you favour; I like it thick but creamy. I sometimes also add some of the reserved chickpea liquid. If it shows signs of splitting, add 1 tbsp warm water gradually, with the motor running. Taste and fine-tune the seasoning. Serve patties with pickled cucumber, hummus and salad as in the picture.