PENINSULA KITCHEN: Lamb a tasty burger alternative

Lamb, which can be obtained locally, is an alternative meat for homemade burgers.

CAUTION, THIS ARTICLE contains some graphic content and might be offensive for vegetarians and some children.

I was talking to my lamb lady on the phone last week about the half lamb she had butchered in my name.

We often think of lamb in spring, but if you have any room in your freezer, it can be a year-round ­staple.

My half lamb weighs in at 35 pounds of chops, steaks, stew meat, burger, some bones for broth and one leg of lamb for a holiday meal.

It comes out to something less than $5 a pound for local, humanely raised and slaughtered, grass-fed, nutritious and tasty meat.

It’s not the cheapest protein you can buy, but it’s a reasonable price to pay for something that will taste great and strengthen your body.

So, if you are a meat eater, keep your eyes out for getting in on some of our small-scale local ranching.

This legal, safe and delicious sector of our food economy doesn’t show up in the employment statistics, and yet everyone can participate by getting some of the local bounty into your freezer.

At the end of our conversation, my lamb lady said she enjoyed my recipes in the PDN and asked if I would do a recipe using lamb sometime.

I said, “Thanks for the great idea.”

The following recipe is tried and true.

We found it in a book called “Whitewater Cooks” by Shelley Adams.

I bought it at a ski resort outside of Nelson, B.C., many years ago.

Since then, I have made this recipe many, many times.

It is on the frequently requested list at our house.

Now that my kids are getting older, I am not above using a recipe like this to tempt them home for an all-American lamb burger.

Greek lamb burgers, from “Whitewater Cooks” by Shelley Adams

Makes 12¼-pound burgers

3 pounds ground lamb

6 cloves garlic, roasted and mashed*

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1½ tablespoons fresh oregano or 1½ teaspoons dried

2 eggs slightly beaten

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

4 tablespoons coarse breadcrumbs (I use Matzoh meal because I have it around)

* To roast garlic, wrap a head in foil and roast in a 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until garlic is soft.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together lamb, roasted garlic, oregano, cinnamon, allspice.

Add eggs to meat mixture and combine well.

Add salt, pepper and bread crumbs.

Form into 12 patties, grill just like any burger.

We serve our lamb burgers on a kaiser bun with baba ganoush, tzatziki, crumbled feta and a pickle, but use your imagination and see what you like.

Remove from the foil and when cool, squeeze out garlic.

In this recipe I have skipped the roasting step to save time, and it’s OK but not as amazing.

Next time you have your oven on, throw in some garlic.

You can refrigerate it for a week or so and have it ready when you want to make your burgers.


Betsy Wharton is a Port Angeles Farmers Market vendor, Washington State University Extension food preservation information assistant and a registered nurse at First Step Family Support Center. More about her pickling enterprise can be found at

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