Cheese Stuffed Lamb Burgers with Lemon Mint Tzatziki
When I dropped by the St. John’s Farmer’s Market last Saturday, I had a brief chat with Adam Blanchard, the owner and talented cheese maker at Five Brothers Artisan Cheese. Adam has had great success over the past year since the launch of his local cheese making company. A number of good local restaurants have embraced his products and contributed to their popularity, no doubt. Adam always has several varieties of his cheeses on offer at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings and I purchased some of his goat’s milk cheddar which was quite delicious with some crusty bread and olives as my Saturday lunch.
The texture of this cheese was akin to a softer, creamier version of feta, so if you are not lucky enough to get your hands on any of Five Brothers wonderful cheese, substitute a good quality feta in this recipe, which is what I have used previously in these burgers. Sometimes softer cheeses can be difficult to use in stuffed burgers, often oozing out of the burger on the grill but I really like the way this cheese stayed intact, warmed and took on a whole new dimension of delicate texture. It was delicious with the mildly flavored lamb which got a flavor boost from fresh garden herbs, minced garlic and chopped sundried tomatoes incorporated into the burgers. I then seasoned the outside of the burgers with smoked paprika before they hit the grill.
With so many flavor components already in play with these burgers, the only condiment that I served with them was some of my favorite Lemon Mint Tzatziki that I normally serve with Chicken Souvlaki. This was one awesome burger. For those of you lucky enough to be in the St. John’s are be sure to check out Five Brothers Artisan Cheese at the St. John’s Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.
Makes 4 burgers
2 lbs ground lean fresh lamb
1 ½ tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 ½ tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 ½ tbsp chopped fresh thyme
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
Form into 8 individual burger patties. On four of the patties, place about
2 ounces feta cheese or goat cheddar
Place the remaining four patties over the cheese and pinch the edges together to seal. Season the outside with a good dusting of
Grill over medium high heat for 4-5 minutes per side or longer if you prefer well-done. Serve on toasted buns with Lemon Mint Tzatziki.
Lemon Mint Tzatziki (Half this recipe is enough but it also makes for a great veggie dip and will last a few days in the fridge if you make the whole batch)
3 cups Greek yogurt, drained.
Draining the yogurt removes much of the liquid and produces an end product about the consistency of thick sour cream. To drain the yogurt, line a colander with several layers of cheesecloth (or in a pinch, several large coffee filters) Pour the yogurt into the colander and place it in a large bowl or in the sink for an hour or two. this should produce about 2 cups of thick yogurt.
6 inch piece of English cucumber
Peel the piece of cucumber and remove the seeds and pulp at the center with a teaspoon, then dice the outside flesh of the cucumber into small cubes of 1/8 inch or less.
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of kosher salt over the diced cucumber and toss together well. Let this rest for about a half hour , stirring occasionally. This process removes some of the liquid from the cucumber so that it will not water down the consistency of your finished tzatziki. Drain all of the liquid off the diced cucumber before adding it to the drained yogurt along with
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
2 cloves minced garlic
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
pinch salt and pepper to season
Mix well, cover and store in the fridge for at least a half hour before serving.