For me, lamb is definitely hit or miss. I either really enjoy it or really, really, really don’t. There is very little middle ground. If it’s too gamey, I don’t like it. Overcooked, blech. Undercooked, even worse! Needless to say, I’ve made some expensive lamb mistakes.
What I’ve realized though, is that ground lamb is not only much less expensive than other options, but it’s also a lot easier to handle. Matt loves lamb chops, so I’ll make them once in a while on a special occasion, but lamb burgers are a much more affordable indulgence.
I used to make lamb burgers with more of a North African flavor thing going on (lots of spices like cumin, cinnamon and paprika) but the way I like them best is more Mediterranean. Lots or herbs, like rosemary and mint. Very lemony.
To be honest though, the star is this Feta-Yogurt Sauce that is so simple to make, but so good. I always make extra so we can have it on grilled vegetables (it’s killer with roasted eggplant). We’ve used it as a dip with pita chips or sliced cucumbers. This recipe makes about 2 cups, which is enough to top 4 burgers with maybe a little extra. If you happen to have a tater-tot on hand that accidentally falls into a bit of this sauce, you’re in for a treat.
***WARNING*** This will be your dog’s face as you eat this burger. Do not give her any (because burger is too good and onions and garlic are poisonous to pups!) She MAY have captured a tater-tot though.
Herbed Lamb Burgers with Feta, Yogurt Sauce
(Makes 4 burgers and 2 cups of sauce)
- 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
- 1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Arugula (for garnish)
- Lemon slices (for garnish)
- Hamburger buns (brioche are best)
Coat a large saute pan with olive oil, toss in the diced onions and lightly season with salt. Bring the pan to medium-high heat and cook the onions for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 4 more minutes. Turn the heat off and let cool.In a large bowl, combine the lamb, the cooled onion mixture, the rosemary, mint and parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Season generously with salt and pepper (about 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper).
Form the lamb mixture into 4 equal patties. Grill the lamb burgers to your desired doneness, 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. You could also cook them on a very hot heavy bottomed skillet, about 5 minutes a side. Remove the burgers from the heat and let rest for 3 to 4 minutes. Serve on a bun with your favorite burger toppings and a slice of lemon.
- 1 cup Feta cheese, lightly crumbled
- 1 cup Greek yogurt (full or non-fat, doesn’t matter)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
- 2 tablespoon chives, finely chopped (you could substitute 1 scallion)
- Salt and pepper