Thursday, August 28

Recipe: Lamb Burgers with Rosemary, Garlic, Shallots, & Feta on Homemade Rosemary Focaccia

Easy Rosemary Focaccia 2
This easy rosemary focaccia (recipe here) makes great burger 'buns'

You might think that it would be neat to have a
best friend who's writing a cookbook, and I suppose that it would be if you happened to live in the same town—or even in the same state—as she does. But I can tell you from my own misfortune personal experience that having a best friend who is writing a cookbook and lives on the other side of the country is absolutely no fun at all.

Not only does she no longer have time to goof off on the phone have serious discussions about life, the universe, and everything with you because she's perpetually frazzled and frantically scrambling to make yet another deadline, but you can't even go over to her house and help devour the plates and platters of scrumptious food she cooks up every day in the name of work.

Nope, you can only salivate along with everyone else in cyberspace as she taunts you with the offer of a
free-for-the-asking gorgeous chocolate cake—that's 'pick-up at my house only' of course.

And then there was the message she left on my answering machine one day saying, "I have buttercream frosting all over my hands and you don't!"

If your evil pal best friend also happens to be a computer genius and is therefore your own personal tech support, things are even worse.

Even I, computer challenged as I am, know that the new RAM she advised me to buy several months ago (which is now so old it's probably obsolete—or at least available at one-tenth of the price) would probably do a lot more good if it were actually in my computer rather than sitting on top of it.

Besides having to starve not being able to indulge in all of her homemade gourmet goodness, I must also face the sad and frustrating truth that there isn't really any way to pitch in and get this annoying project finished already help her out because I'm a couple of thousand miles away.

Even when she has a frightening run-in with a wasp, to which she is deathly allergic, and ends up spraying a counter full of food (and several hours worth of work) with toxic bug spray, all I can do is feebly try to console her over the phone.

Once in a while, though, there does come an opportunity to save the day lend a long-distance helping hand, like when she calls and says she needs a few step-by-step photos of mixing up some ground lamb for her lamb burger recipe, and her market is totally lambless.

No problem! you assure her as you head out to the covered porch off the kitchen, lift up the lid of one of your giant, ancient, jam packed chest freezers and pluck out a package of grass-fed ground lamb that you just happened to have raised yourself.

And because helping your best friend out of a bind is of course its own reward, having to cook up and consume some lamb burgers that evening for dinner (since you've already gone to the trouble of mixing up the meat—and thankfully haven't had to douse it with bug spray) is just icing on the proverbial cake, especially if she happened to have told you once that lamb burgers on homemade rosemary focaccia 'buns' are delicious.

So I guess having a best friend who's writing a cookbook isn't all bad. Now if only she would call and say she desperately needs a picture of some deep, dark chocolate cake batter—and buttercream frosting of course.

Beth & Susan's Lamb Burgers with Rosemary, Shallots, Garlic, and Feta Cheese

After taking the required photos for Beth, I decided to apply my More, More, More philosophy to her original recipe and mixed some chopped fresh parsley and rosemary from the greenhouse into the meat. Oh, and I also added more shallots and garlic than she told me to, but hopefully she won't be able to tell in the photos.

If I'd had any ripe heirloom tomatoes in the kitchen garden on the day I made these burgers, you can bet they would have been piled high with thick and juicy slices. But since it was still spring, I made due with some freshly picked arugula instead.

As always, I urge you to seek out local and ingredients whenever possible; they really do make a difference. All natural, grass-fed lamb raised by small producers like us is becoming more and more readily available around the U.S., so there's no need to buy frozen lamb that has traveled halfway across the world. Search Local Harvest to find lamb and other food grown close to home.

1 pound ground lamb, preferably all natural and grass-fed
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (blue cheese is nice, too)
3 heaping Tablespoons chopped shallots
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 1 heaping Tablespoon)
1 to 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3 heaping Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Freshly ground pepper
A sprinkle of salt (the feta is salty so don't overdo it)

Place the ground lamb, feta cheese, shallots, garlic, rosemary, and parsley in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then gently mix until combined—the best way to do this is with your clean hands. Form into 3 or 4 patties.

Place patties on a grill or in a hot skillet (cast iron works beautifully) and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Flip burgers and cook until desired doneness. Serve between slices of focaccia or your favorite bread or buns.

Love lamb? Here are more of my favorite easy lamb recipes:
Grilled Lamb Burgers with Roasted Red Pepper, Parsley, & Kalamata Olive Relish from Cooking with Shelburne Farms
Easy Ground Lamb & Feta Stuffed Mushrooms
Onion & Herb Crusted Lamb Spareribs and Grilled Lamb Leg Steaks
Slow Roasted Dutch Oven Lamb Shanks or Shoulder Roasts with Tomatoes, Onions, Garlic, and Rosemary
Slow Roasted Greek Style Leg of Lamb with Oregano and Lemon
(a one pan dinner with lemony garlic potatoes and Swiss chard)

Still hungry? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

©, the burger loving foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares recipes, stories, & photos from her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres.


  1. Why Susan, how timely of you to post this now. I shall bookmark it and revisit in a couple of weeks when we have our own lamb in our own jam-packed, ancient freezer.

  2. Sometimes you are right on time. Our CSA just handed me a pound of lamb burger and I thought...hmmm, a new challenge.

  3. Sounds so good. I have long loved the use of homemade focaccia as a sandwich bun. Beautiful picture too.

  4. Thanks for posting these recipes. I love lamb! I'm going to have to try these. I've never had a "lamb burger".

  5. Maybe after this post Beth with send you that chocolate cake request. ;-)

    That burger looks so good! I'm doing the South Beach diet desperately trying to get off the last of the baby weight, so right now the focaccia is out, but in a few weeks I'll be very tempted. Waiting with anticipation for the rosemary focaccia recipe!

    Thanks for being a strong supporter of Grow Your Own!

  6. Hi,
    Check my blog, I nominated your blog for an award

  7. Excellent timing, dearest Susan, as my grass-fed (half) lamb happens to be arriving this afternoon, to be packed into my freezer. Most excellent! :)

  8. Oh I am drooling. Hubby and I just ordered a lamb from a local grass fed farm. Or sheep. Not too sure of the terminology. But in the stores around here a pound of leg of lamb is almost 20 dollars. We are getting the whole thing for less than 150.00. Not bad. The 150 includes gas and friend to drive the car as we use the public transporation system.

    Susan, I am bookmarking this so that I can go back at my leisure (what a joke!) and read the recipes.


  9. I love focaccia (as well as making it) and look forward to seeing your recipe. :-)

  10. Yum... I grew up on lamb over in England but since living in the states for the past few years it's a rare treat! Thanks for the recipe!

  11. Mmm, I have a wonderful local source for lamb, and we make burgers all the time. This looks extra special though! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Can't wait for the foccacia recipe...I've got a ton of rosemary (despite a mostly cool, wet summer) that I don't quite know what to do with, and the bread looks delish in the picture!

  13. Wow, thank you for this recipe! I made it for dinner last night to RAVE reviews!

    @Jonica - if you have a Trader Joe's near you, they often have whole boneless legs of lamb for about $20. I buy one and cut a couple of slices out of the middle for steaks, leave one end whole for roasts, and chunk the rest of it up for stew or curry. I usually get 4-5 meals for 2 with some leftovers. Get creative! I bet you can find a cheaper place! Thanks also for the idea of buying a whole or half lamb. That might be practicable for us.

    To make these burgers, I took some of my stew-meat chunks from the last leg I bought, thawed them out, ran the garlic, shallots, & rosemary in the food processor, then tossed in the lamb. A few more quick pulses mixed the meat while chopping it just enough to be used for burgers.

    I hand-mixed the feta, salt, and pepper into the meat. My local store had no more focaccia, so I had mine on wheat buns with my fresh-from-the-garden pesto, red leaf lettuce, and extra feta on the patty. My only suggestion: MORE GARLIC. But I'm a garlic nut, so that's just me. I might also try these with a few olives mixed in.

    This also gives me an idea for lamb meatloaf with leftovers to slice for sandwiches. Mmmmmm.

    Thanks again! I love your blog!!!

  14. We are huge fans of the lamb burger! And these look like yet another fantastic variation.

    Looking forward to that foccaccia recipe... have been meaning to get that book myself, but haven't caved yet!

  15. I don't eat lamb, but that sure looks delicious! Got a picture up for you today. :)

  16. Bridgett, where do you sign up for a CSA that shows up with lamb?

    This sounds so good.

  17. This is such an amazing recipe and I'm thrilled I found it - thank you for posting it! I'm still really learning to cook and this recipe meets all of my criteria: it's easy, quick, hard to really screw up, and incredibly flavorful.

    Spent some time browsing your other entries and am excited to see so many recipes in one place!


December 2015 update: Hi! For some reason I can't figure out, Blogger hasn't been letting me leave comments on my own blog (!) for the last several months, so I've been unable to respond to your comments and questions. My apologies for any inconvenience! You're always welcome to email me: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com.

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