Lamb Burgers with Feta Cheese Recipe
When I was a kid, I was not exactly enamored with lamb. It wasn't common fare around my place and, when it was served, it was one of the few meats that got the utterly unimaginative preparation of salt/pepper/garlic, grilled and with mint jelly on the side. It wasn't bad, but it certainly was not the usual, creative dinner I was spoiled enough to expect. Fast forward a few years, errr, decades and lamb is rapidly becoming one of my favorite meat choices.
I am lucky enough to have friends, like Farmgirl, who have sheep and they have introduced me to many ways to prepare lamb - with nary a hint of mint jelly in sight. The only downside to this is that Susan lives halfway across the country and, try as we may, we have not yet figured out how to shove a rack of lamb through the tubes of the internets. Must be coming in the next version of Windows...
One sheep-raising friend of mine does live close enough to keep me supplied with fresh, pastured lamb for my dinner table. Faded Rose Farm sits on the edge of a bucolic island in the middle of the mighty Columbia River, with a porch that is perfect for sitting with a glass of wine while a couple of guys pluck away on their guitars. An expanse of pasture is home to a flock of sheep and an extremely happy puppy who can jump an electric fence like a pro. Then again, I suppose he is a pro.
While I would love to have lamb chops more often, I am generally on more of a burger budget so I have been experimenting with various ways to prepare ground lamb. One of my favorites is simple: burgers on homemade focaccia.
The other night, I wanted blue cheese on my burger, but wasn't so convinced that the cheese would stay on top of the meat long enough to melt. I decided to mix it in to the meat before shaping the burgers. Adding some diced shallots to the mix meant I got something resembling my favored fried onions without all of the work - because slicing an onion and tossing it around the pan is such hard work. While the burgers cook, the blue cheese on the outside caramelizes into this gorgeously crispy layer of goodness. In fact, I may have to try quickly frying up a hunk of blue cheese just to get that marvelous browned cheese.
The next weekend, we wandered down to evenTinierTown for a weekend at one of my favorite places in the world, The Inn at Lucky Mud. I offered to bring dinner so I grabbed a bag of my Onion and Cheddar Breadsticks, some Faded Rose ground lamb and a small block of feta. Heart-shaped buns mean heart-shaped burgers, not to mention a lot of harassment from the kitchen peanut gallery.
I sliced a few large russet potatoes into wedges and tossed with olive oil, chopped fresh rosemary, salt and pepper. Popped in a 425° oven for ~25-30 minutes, they come out with a crisp exterior that yields to the tender potato inside.
We opened a couple of bottles of wine, toasted the sunset and laughed until late in the night. My idea of a perfect evening.
Ground lamb 1 lb
Shallot, diced 1
Feta cheese 2-3 ounces (or any other cheese you like, blue is also good)
- Crumble the lamb and cheese into a bowl. Add the shallot, a sprinkle of salt, a grind of pepper and a bit of garlic. Mix well. Form into 4 patties.
- Place lamb patties in a cold frying pan, turn on the heat to just above medium and cook for ~5 min (until browned). Flip and cook to desired degree of doneness; it's another 4-5 minutes for medium.
- Cut a hunk of focaccia that is about the same size as the burger. Slice in half horizontally. I like to toast my buns just a bit before assembling my burgers. Add your favorite condiments, fresh greens, and a slice of tomato. Enjoy!