Lamb Keftedes Burgers

These Mediterranean-influenced lamb burgers provide an enjoyable alternative to the typical summer barbecue menu.
Photo by Penny de Los Santos / Food Styling by Hadas Smirnoff

Courtesy Todd Knoll, executive chef, Jordan Vineyard & Winery, Healdsburg, CA

Lamb from Sonoma County, California, is considered some of the best in the world, and it’s a favorite of Todd Knoll, chef at Jordan Vineyard & Winery in Healdsburg. A delicious alternative to the usual summer barbecue fare, Knoll’s lamb burgers can also be pan-fried in olive oil as keftedes (Greek meatballs) and served as part of a meze spread.

Four Burgers to Win at Grilling Season
Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds ground lamb
  • ½ pound ground beef chuck
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh mint, fine-chopped
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh oregano, fine-chopped
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • Pita or naan
  • Greek Relish (ingredients and recipe below)
Directions

Combine meats, mint, oregano, onion, egg and cumin gently with hands. Let rest 45 minutes. Shape into 6 patties.

Heat grill to high. Season patties with salt and pepper. Cook 3 minutes per side, or to desired doneness (130˚F internal temperature for medium-rare). Char lemon on grill, and squeeze over cooked burgers. Serve with warmed pita or naan and relish. Serves 6.

Greek Relish Ingredients
  • ¼ red onion
  • ½ English cucumber
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • ¹/₃ cup Kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons dill
  • 12 mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 ounces feta
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Greek Relish Directions

Slice red onion thin. Slice English cucumber into thin half moons. Combine with halved cherry tomatoes, halved and pitted Kalamata olives, chopped fresh dill, torn mint leaves, extra-virgin olive oil and feta. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Pair It

Jordan 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley). “This is drinking older than its 2014 vintage,” says Margaret Kruse, associate winemaker at Jordan Vineyard & Winery. “Its dark fruit and integrated tannins pop against the earthiness of cumin, oregano, lamb and, of course, the char of the grill.”

Published on July 9, 2018
About the Author
Nils Bernstein
Contributing Editor, Food

A fan of sweet wines, sour beers, and old-school Rioja, Bernstein is an exhaustive traveler in search of new and unsung chefs and restaurants, innovative wine and food pairings, and eating and drinking at the source. In addition to Wine Enthusiast, Bernstein has written for Bon Appetit, Men’s Journal, New York Times, Men’s Fitness, Hemispheres, and Kinfolk, among others.

Email: nbernstein@wineenthusiast.net



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