As this year’s canning season draws near, I figured now would be a good time to start using up what’s left of last year’s preserves. It was, in essence, that objective that led us to create these extraordinary burgers. Rather than building from the ground (meat) up, and instead from the top(ping) down, starting with a rather unconventional topping incorporating the last jar of pickled cherries I had been hoarding since last summer.
We chose lamb out of necessity (we had a package in the freezer that needed to be used), and seeing as we both are somewhat averse to the gamey flavor that often comes with lamb, we did our best to incorporate other strong flavors that might help to mask this. Hence the addition of gorgonzola, but feta or goat cheese would work just as well. And same with the lamb, I think beef or turkey would work equally as well with the unique flavors in this recipe.
You know, if you’re so inclined.
I knew I wanted a pickled cherry “something” to top these burgers from the get-go, and I envisioned a rough chopped concoction, sweet and tart with chopped nuts and herbs. But what to call it? It wasn’t cooked, so not a compote. Too fine to be a salsa. It wasn’t quite a pesto. Relish seemed like the most fitting descriptor.
Just in case you don’t happen to have a jar of last year’s pickled cherries lying around, you could do a quick pickle, letting the cherries soak in the brine mixture overnight. Or use fresh cherries, which would make for a great fruity condiment, albeit sweeter and less savory than the original.
Gorgonzola Lamb Burgers with Pickled Cherry Relish
1/2 cup pickled cherries (about 20), pitted
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons shelled pistachios (roasted and unsalted if you can find them)
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 pound ground lamb
1/4 cup (2 ounces) crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1 shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh chopped oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
olive oil, for cooking
4 large or 6 slider-size burger buns
handful fresh arugula
greek yogurt (optional)
For relish, combine cherries, tomatoes, parsley, and pistachios in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 2-3 times or until relish is chopped (not puréed) and ingredients are evenly incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To prepare burgers, combine lamb, gorgonzola, shallot, garlic, vinegar, oregano, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, using your hands to gently mix as necessary. Divide meat mixture into fourths, sixths if you will be making smaller, slider-sized burgers. Form into patties slightly larger than the diameter of your buns (as they will shrink when cooked), and arrange on a lightly-oiled plate or baking sheet.
Preheat a large heavy or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Brush bottom with a thin coating of olive oil. When pan is hot, add burgers, cooking in batches if necessary, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side (2 to 3 for sliders) or until meat reaches desired doneness.
Meanwhile, split buns and lightly spread the insides with butter. Toast in a toaster oven or broiler until light golden brown. Arrange on serving dishes. Stack with burger patty, a spoonful of cherry relish, a dollop of greek yogurt (if desired), and a generous pile of arugula on top. Serve immediately.
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Yum yum yum! For the relish I used what I had: walnuts, tomatoes, maraschino cherries, a drop of the cherry syrup, and rice vinegar…came out great!
I’ve never canned, preserved or pickled anything. For the quick pickling, do I use boiling hot brine over whole cherries. Why don’t you pit and destem the cherries? Thanks, looks scrumptious.
making the burgers for dinner this coming week . . . . did you use the sweeter pickled cherries or the more savory ones? Thanks. Can’t wait to try them.
I used the sweet ones but I actually think the savory would have been better, with the peppercorns and stuff instead of the cloves and cinnamon. I have one more jar of those I’ve been hoarding… may have to make these again!
My first picking experience was a success and the whole family LOVED the burgers! Thanks for sharing such a great recipe! We really enjoyed all the flavors together!!
oops . . . pickling experience
I was surprised to see lamb on here after the conversation we had at the Greek restaurant in Memphis! Glad to see you were able to find a way to mast the gamey flavors.
These burgers look wonderful :) I’m really loving the flavors in this burger, so excited to try these!
WOW…these look so good! I LOVE cherries, so the pickled cherry relish absolutely got me. Well, OK, so did the gorgonzola. And the lamb. :-)
ooh i love the idea of a pickled cherry relish. i have these rando cherries in my fridge and i just haven’t known what to do with them. and i love having fruity things on burgers, the last time i had this was with pineapple. yum! beautiful photos, by the way!!!
WOW! what a burguer!! delicious pictures! got go they made me hungry!!
Gorgonzola or any kind of blue cheese is always tasty with ground meat. I just love that combination. Can’t wait to try the recipe. Thanks
Cherry relish…you’re a flipping genius lady. I totally have to try these burgers out, topped with oodles of cherry relish. Lots and lots of cherry relish.
Love the gorgonzola!! Perfect with burgers!
Oh, wow!! These look so good!
I’ll have to make this quick pickle. It looks amazing. The bbq season has started in my area and my friends will be happy to taste something different than a sausage, haahah.
How do you come up with this stuff?? If only I had the gift of making food delicious! Must try the recipe this weekend – thank you for sharing.
YES please! What an awesome combo! :)
wish you would have had dinner with us! we too made lamb burgers! I mixed mine w cinnamon, oregano, garlic, s&p. then stuffed w blue cheese from WI and topped w grilled red onions and tomatoes. Served on an onion bun.
I love the idea of the pickled cherries! Thanks!
I love this flavor profile! The cherry relish sounds to die for!
Wow, these burgers look crazy delicious. Picture perfect. And I think I really need that relish in my life. Thanks for sharing!
These look wonderful! I have not had a lamb burger but it sounds yummy especially with the Gorgonzola!
Oh my. Some of my most favorite flavors in one dish!
I’m such a sucker for “fancy” burgers. And I actually do have one sad, lonely jar of balsamic pickled cherries from last year left!
These look SO GOOD. I am seriously contemplating having one right now. For breakfast. Is that wrong…?
You know I’m cool with breakfast for dinner, so why not dinner for breakfast? :)
not only do these burgers sound DIVINE, but I love the choice of poppyseed hamburger rolls! great pictures :)
Funny you should say that, I’m actually posting the recipe for the buns tomorrow! :)
I can’t decide if I want to pet these or inhale them.
Oh wait, decision made: inhale.