Posted by: acooksca | 08/23/2013

Lamb and Feta Burgers with Pepper Relish

Lamb and Feta Burger with Pepper Relish

Lamb and Feta Burger with Pepper Relish

I made my first trip to New Zealand while in college and the food never prompted a return trip. A few years ago, however, I started receiving Cuisine New Zealand magazine and wow, had that little country of only 4 million souls gone foodie! Much because of that magazine we made a trip to New Zealand and found globally trained chefs doing great things with pristine seafood, meadow-raised venison and that flavorful Merino lamb they are so famous for.

This recipe, adapted from a Cuisine New Zealand article on mid-week quick suppers, highlights a sweet and sour relish you can prepare days ahead. By adding feta cheese, breadcrumbs and lemon juice the texture of ground lamb is softened, almost like a lush meatball. And the flavors go far beyond mere ground lamb.

You can broil the burgers, but I find they get a better crust in a fry pan. They will sputter while cooking so have a lid or splatter guard at hand. Cook to medium so they are done inside, the added ingredients will keep them moist and juicy.

Sweet and sour pepper relish               serves 4

¾ c apple cider vinegar

¼ cup honey

2 bell peppers, one red and yellow, cut into long, thin strips

1 large shallot, peeled, sliced thinly

1 tablespoon mustard of your choice

½ teaspoon salt

pinch cayenne

For lamb burgers

1 ½ pound ground lamb

2 slice firm white sandwich bread torn into pieces

1 scallion

2 cloves garlic

4 sprigs fresh oregano leaves or 2 teaspoons dried

Juice of one lemon

salt and pepper to taste

½ cup (4-oz.) crumbled feta cheese

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Relish: In a medium saucepan bring the vinegar and honey to a boil. Add the other ingredients, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer stirring occasionally until tender, about 25 minutes. Can be made ahead and refrigerated several days. Serve warm.

Lamb: In a processor pulse the bread, scallion, garlic and herbs until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add the feta and lamb, mixing throughly until well combined. Form four 1-inch thick burgers. Rest at least 10 minutes before cooking, or up to several hours.

Add the oil to a fry pan and heat over medium until the oil shimmers. Place the burger in the pan and cover to prevent splattering. Cook, turning once, for 4 minutes per side for medium. Meanwhile warm the relish to serve on top of the burgers. Serve on warmed hamburger buns with your favorites sides such as sautéed onions or sliced tomato, or extra feta to top.



  1. This looks incredibly delicious. I can’t wait to give it a try! Do you have a feta that you like? Do you think a chevre would work, or would it be too mild? I like the idea of a chevre’s creaminess on top of the juicy meat.

    • Using feta, a sheep milk cheese, reinforces the lamb flavor. Our lamb in the U.S. is a different breed then the Merino raised in N.Z. and is much less flavorful. I buy imported feta for that same reason…fuller flavor and deeper nuances. Feta also melts in at the right degree where a softer cheese, such as a creamy chevre, would separate out of the burger when cooked. By hey…any cheese gets a big plus in my book so try what you have on hand.

  2. Go back!!!

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