Lamb Burgers with Mint-Feta Pesto

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6

The aroma of lamb burgers cooking over a hot fire is intoxicating. Add a little feta-laced mint pesto and some lightly toasted pita bread, and you have a delicious Greek-inspired meal that’s perfect for a casual dinner with friends.


For the mint-feta pesto:

  • 1 cup (1 oz./30 g) loosely packed fresh mint leaves
  • 2 Tbs. pine nuts
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if
  • 6 oz. (185 g) feta cheese, crumbled
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped shallot
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 lb. (750 g) ground lamb
  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) ground beef chuck
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 pita rounds
  • Shredded lettuce for serving


To make the mint-feta pesto, in a blender or food processor, combine the mint, pine nuts and red pepper flakes and pulse until the mint is chopped. With the machine running, slowly add the 1/2 cup olive oil in a thin, steady stream, processing until a thin paste forms. If the paste is too thick, add a little more olive oil. Add the cheese and pulse 3 or 4 times to mix. Alternatively, for a more rustic sauce, transfer the mint mixture to a bowl and stir in the feta just until combined. Season with salt and black pepper. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature and stir just before serving.

Prepare a hot fire in a grill. Brush and oil the grill grate.

In a bowl, stir together the shallot, parsley, mint, mustard, rosemary and garlic. Gently work in the lamb and beef until well blended. Adding 1 to 2 Tbs. ice water can help with the mixing. Divide the meat mixture into 6 equal portions. Shape each portion into a patty about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick, being careful not to compact the meat too much. Season on both sides with salt and black pepper. Make a depression in the center of each patty with your thumb.

Place the patties, indent side up, on the grill directly over the heat and cook, turning once, until nicely charred on both sides, about 5 minutes per side for medium, or until done to your liking. The patty should give slightly when pressed. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, place the pita rounds on the edge of the grill and toast lightly, turning once.

Transfer the burgers to a platter. Cut off and discard about one-third of each pita round and open up the pocket. Place a little of the mint-feta pesto in the bottom of each pita, add a lamb burger, and top with shredded lettuce and a little more pesto. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Grill Master, by Fred Thompson (Weldon Owen, 2011).

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