Cooking with cherries: Lamb, cherry and feta burgers

I bought this gadget that de-stones cherries - what a life saver!

Cooking with cherries

Many moons ago, I tried the Atkins diet.

I did lose weight but as with all fad diets, the weight definitely crept back within a few months. One take-away from that episode in my life was certainly never to try fad diets again, but some of the recipes and techniques I researched did gave me plenty of food for thought (sorry, terrible puns I know but I couldn’t help it, LOL).

Plenty of herbs and spices go into this burger, along with cherries and feta cheese

I remember one idea for dieters was to add cherries to burgers so one could bulk up a meat dish and reduce meat intake at the same time. The recipe (I can’t find it anymore) was to make beef burgers with ground cherries added to it.

I never tried that recipe when I was on the ‘Fatkins’ die but I’d always wanted to and so a few months ago, I finally did. It’s only appearing on the blog now as it’s been sitting on my desktop waiting to be typed up.

If you think about it, it’s hardly unusual to bulk up burgers. I personally love grating a carrot (and squeezing out as much juice as possible) before mixing it in with my beef burgers (it’s a trick an old friend taught me years ago) – I find the carrot adds natural sugar and taste; most of the time, no one even notices that it’s in there.

However, I thought the sweetness of cherries needed a stronger flavoured meat than beef so I decided to try my experiment with lamb instead. I was also concerned that it would be too sweet so I then decided to add a sharp feta cheese, which I though would cut through both the sweetness of the cherries, and that fatty aftertaste you can sometimes get from lamb. Not to mention the fact that I also love the flavour of feta when it melts and burns slightly.

Stuffed with cherries, herbs, spices and feta cheese - it smelt amazing even before it was cooked.

I love this recipe and I know I’ll be making it again this summer. My husband thought it was ok but he’s not really a fan of lamb anyway, certainly not in burgers, so he’s not the best judge for this dish. I wonder whether many of you will find it too strange and a step too far?

No burger bun required, just a crisp green salad and a wedge of lemon

I would say that I should have diced up the cherries into smaller pieces and squeezed out a little more of the juice from them, like I do with carrots. Because I left it quite chunky, it’s obvious the patty has cherries in it. Strangely enough, once mixed in with the meat, it seems to lose a lot of its sweetness; so if it had been ground up more and one didn’t see it, it’d be much harder to notice how the meat had been bulked up.

The occasional bite of feta was sensational with the lamb and cherries.

As healthier eating goes, I think this is indeed a great way to reduce the amount of meat I eat without having to compromise on taste or meal size – you get a generous burger from this recipe!

I’m also not sure if the cherries would constitute one portion of my five a day but I’m sure it certainly doesn’t hurt. 🙂

I fried these patties (no oil required either as the lamb releases enough fat) in a fry pan but I can’t wait to try this on the barbecue this summer. Would love to know what you think about my little experiment and if you have other ideas for reducing the amount of meat in dishes, I’m all ears!

The recipe’s below or you can click for a printer-friendly version here.

Lots of love

thebigfatnoodle

Lovely lamb mince and plenty of spice

Lamb, cherry and feta burgers (makes 3-4 patties)

250 grams minced lamb

150 grams fresh de-stoned cherries, chopped, minced (gently squeeze out some of the juice as you don’t want a mushy burger!)

1 teaspoon fresh tyme

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary (finely chopped with the thyme)

1 large garlic, minced into mush with 1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon chilli powder

½ small red onion, peeled and finely chopped/grated

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped

40 – 50 grams of sharp feta cheese, crumbled

In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients but try not to mush them too much – you want to try and have some texture to the lamb mince itself.

Shape into patties.

Chill the patties in the fridge or in a cool area for about half an hour.

Dry fry them in a skillet or grill/barbecue for no more than 2 minutes on each side (it depends on how you like your lamb burgers cooked).

I made this as it was just getting colder last year but it's perfect for summer too.

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Comments
26 Responses to “Cooking with cherries: Lamb, cherry and feta burgers”
  1. Hmm, can’t say that I am a believer in diets but WOW what an original idea for a burger – sounds fabulous!
    🙂 Mandy

  2. Charles says:

    Wow, either your hands are tiny or that is one mighty burger 😀 Looks amazing – It’s really difficult to get minced lamb in France alas but there’s an English grocery store online which delivers chilled goods to France so sometimes I can make an order from there! 😀

    I never tried cherries and meat before – I’m really curious as to what it’s like – thanks for sharing this, I must give it a try sometime 🙂

    • Haha, it’s actually both! I do have small hands but that photo actually shows me holding 2 patties! Do you have a mincer? Might be easier to buy a lamb fillet and mince it up yourself?

  3. A-Mazing!! Love cooking with cherries! Loved your pics!

  4. These sound delicious! What a great way to make a sweet and savory lamb burger!

  5. tastydesu says:

    Hi Noodle! This looks amazing and I’m always a fan of mixing the sweet and savory! Question for you though as I’ve not ever cooked with lamb myself…I’ve always found it to be such a mystifying protein. Are there any tips/suggestions you have so that the lamb doesnt come out to “gamey” tasting?

    • My mum can’t handle the heaviness of lamb. I’d recommend marinating lamb in booze! My mum used to marinate a whole leg of lamb in vermouth and it was AWESOME! I don’t have vermouth in my kitchen so I tend to use sherry when I cook with lamb. I didn’t in this dish but maybe the summer version might just have to have some form of alcohol seasoning in it too. Hope that helps.

  6. Lamb burger are a favorite around here, but I have never put cherries in them before. However, I can imagine how good everything smelled even prior to cooking. Well done!

  7. billpeeler says:

    I would never think of using this combination of flavors – very creative and looks awesomely tasty!

  8. Just the title of your post had me salivating – delicious:) Thanks for sharing!

  9. Lamb and cherries? You nutter :D. In all honesty these look great – the colour is fantastic. I’d love to sink my gnashers into one, or two, of these.

  10. This sounds great! I had a lamb burger at a local restaurant that was made with mint and served topped with goat cheese, arugula and a dried cherry jam…a somewhat similar flavor profile and one I wouldn’t have thought try but I love it….which is how I KNOW your recipe must be good!

  11. ceciliag says:

    Diets do not lose weight, changing the way you eat forever loses weight. And if this was the diet burger (without the bun AND NO Noodles, Noodles) i LOVE IT! really i love it and i have lamb in my freezer! this is a great recipe! c

  12. Tandy says:

    I think the cherries will work perfectly with venison 🙂

  13. Kathryn says:

    I haven’t any cherries on hand at the moment, but the minced lamb I have in the fridge will definitely get some feta and some chopped dried apricots along with the spices when I make up the patties this week! YUM.

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