Manchego-stuffed Lamb Burgers

So after finishing the last of those deliciously braised lamb shanks, I found myself with a good bit of leftover sherry blackberry sauce. To some, this would be a sad waste, but to me, this is yet another opportunity to try something new using leftovers. So in the ongoing love of all things lamb: lamb burgers!

Manchego-stuffed Lamb Burgers

The weather is warm here and it just screams for cooking outside. I had a craving for burgers, but I wanted to try something different from what I normally make. So to keep going with lamb and to not let any of that delicious sherry blackberry sauce go to waste, I picked up some ground lamb and decided to make a rich and tender burger. These are easy to prepare and some of the juiciest burgers I’ve ever had–you have the inherently flavorful lamb, the hearty, complex, darkness of the sauce, the uplifting flavor of mint, and the meaty, richness of kalmata olives all coming together for quite a burger. And seeing how I like to stuff cheese inside my burgers, it only seemed appropriate to stick to the lamb theme and use a sheep’s milk cheese, in this case, the renowned, semi-firm, earthy, tangy Spanish cheese: manchego. I’d originally intended to take this a step further by making some rosemary focaccia for a bun, but it just wasn’t in the cards this go around. 😉

  • 2.5 lbs ground lamb
  • 3/4 cup of lamb shank sherry-blackberry sauce
  • 1 shallot
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 12 kalmata olives
  • few fresh sprigs oregano
  • dried oregano
  • mint
  • fennel seeds
  • black pepper
  • 1/2-3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • manchego cheese

Sauté shallot, garlic, and add to sherry blackberry sauce along with diced olives.

Begin by making what I’ll call the “mash”–the mixture of sauce, veggies, herbs, etc. The first step is to dice the shallot and garlic finely, sautéing the shallot for about 3 minutes in a bit of hot olive oil, adding the garlic in for another minute or two after.

Remove this from heat and add to a large mixing bowl. In this bowl, add the dry spices, sherry-blackberry sauce, and pitted, diced olives.

Fresh oregano

Also, dice up some fresh oregano and mint leaves and mix this into the mash.

Mix meat into sauce mixture and form patties

So with the mash mixed, time to get your hands dirty: mix in the lamb. Work it into the mash well until fully mixed. At this point, this mixture is clearly not thick enough to manage as a burger, so I put some stale baguette through the food processor (I can never get through an entire baguette quickly enough!) and mixed the bread crumbs into the lamb/mash mixture which makes the texture just right.

So now, divide the mixture into what you think is an appropriately sized patty–I usually aim for somewhere around 1/3 lb each–and set this aside.

Stuff manchego into each patty

If you’re planning on stuffing cheese into your burgers (and you should!), dice a good-sized chunk of manchego for each patty. It will definitely melt down better if you shred it, but I was in a rush and did just fine with chunks. Press this into each patty and work the meat over it to ensure it is fully enclosed in meat. Reshape your patties to look burger like.

If you have more burger patties ready than you expect to be able to eat, now is a good time to set some aside. I usually intentionally make way too many burgers, and then at this stage of the game, package a few raw patties in plastic bags and transfer to the freezer for a quick dinner another day. Plus, lamb freezes very well!

Manchego-stuffed Lamb Burgers fresh off the grill

So with the burgers ready to go, get your grill nice and hot (around 450°–much less and the manchego won’t melt very well!) and grill the burgers for about 8 minutes total, flipping once halfway through. I also smoked a sprig or two of rosemary on the grill beside the burgers for a little extra and to assuage my guilt for not making the rosemary focaccia. 😉


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29 Responses to “Manchego-stuffed Lamb Burgers”

  1. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) Says:

    I love all of the Mediterranean flavors going on in these burgers. And because I’m not a huge fan of rosemary, I’m just as glad you didn’t do the rosemary foccacia — I think it might be one too many flavors going on. The burgers look perfect just as they are!

  2. Deeba Says:

    Hi Mike…can almost taste these yummies! They look great…strangely enough I made a roasted bell pepper with roasted garlic focaccia this afternoon! Can we trade a bit? On another note, have an award for you…do stop by when you have a moment! Have a great day! Cheers

  3. grace Says:

    did you devise this recipe yourself? i’m extremely impressed–they look perfect and juicy and very nearly irresistible (and this is coming from someone who prefers her lambs alive and kicking). :)

  4. Peter Says:

    The burgers look food mag perfect and I see your pinched the sides so the cheese doesn’t ooze out.

    Isn’t Manchego just grand?

  5. aforkfulofspaghetti Says:

    WAY. TO. GO. :-)

  6. michelle @ TNS Says:


    not awesome = looking at this right before lunchtime.

    okay, it’s still awesome.

  7. dp Says:

    YUM! Lamb burgers are my burger of choice! With a side of sweet potato fries and aioli…you really can’t beat it! Now I’ll be thinking about this all day…

  8. Sandie (Inn Cuisine) Says:

    Wow. Never had lamb burgers before and never seen them blogged about yet.

    These sound delicious. My mother, who loves lamb but fixes it infrequently, is planning a visit later this spring. I think I’ll prepare this while she’s here and see if I can knock her socks off (easier said than done!)

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. noble pig Says:

    Yum! How great is that with that sauce and cheese. Very creative and a great idea to boot.

  10. Deb Says:

    Look at that grilled bun!! I love to grill buns for sandwiches, gives a nice crunch to the party! These look simply marvelous and a perfect way to use up that sauce! Manchango cheese has been my latest “gotta have that” cheese. It melts so great and the flavor…uuummmmm

  11. Ivy Says:

    Mike I went back to read your lamb shank sherry-blackberry sauce and loved the way you did the lamb. We will be eating a lot of lamb during Easter and this sauce is perfect as well as your burgers and they way you prepared the lamb.

  12. EAT! Says:

    I love manchego cheese so these burgers sound like they would be fantastic. I have just dusted off our grill after a long winter. Your burgers are going on my Must Make List.

  13. beth Says:

    wow. all day i’ve been trying to talk various back-yarded friends into having me over for barbecues, i think this will definitely be my way of saying “thanks for hearing my pleas!” i can’t wait to try these!

  14. We Are Never Full Says:

    Looks good! you can also do what we do (it’s one of our quick go-to meals) and wrap that burger meat around a skewer and grill em (inside if you have a grill pan or outside if you’re a lucky one w/ an outside grill!). We throw them in warmed pita with some onion and tomato and tome yogurt sauce and voila!

    Man, you just made me wish I was eating burgers tonight. I would think the manchego would go well w/the lamb meat because it’s pretty mild. An interesting combo I wouldn’t have thought of!

  15. anticiplate Says:

    Wow! This is right up my alley! Great flavors and I LOVE LOVE LOVE manchego.

  16. Kevin Says:

    Those burgers sound so tasty. And they are stuffed with cheese…mmm… Now I really want to try some manchego cheese.

  17. Zenchef Says:

    Manchego + Lamb + Burgers?
    You can stop right there. I’m sold.

  18. Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy Says:

    Very creative way to use your leftover sauce! Those burgers really look great! Hmmm. I’ve got a big chunk of manchego in my fridge. There might be some lamb burgers in my future…..

  19. Sarah Says:

    Glad to hear you’re cooking with manchego cheese! It’s just so delicious. I’m sure you’ve had this, but if not, try gruyere…it’s another great one.

  20. Jan Says:

    Mmmm – I could eat one of those now!
    They look yummy.

  21. Marc @ NoRecipes Says:

    OH man that looks delicious! I could totally picture this with some membrillo spread on the buns.

  22. Toni Says:

    I’m with you on the “everything lamb”…Wouldn’t have thought to stuff them with cheese – great idea!

  23. RecipeGirl Says:

    Oh, I’ve been busy and have almost missed this post! I love lamb burgers. I’ve tried several different kinds and my current fave is a greek version. Yours looks fab too!!!

  24. katie Says:

    I love all the goodies in these…. I’ve never had a lamb burger. I may have to get my butcher to grind some for me. As to the Manchego, that filled the cheese cases when we lived in Andorra – and I haven’t seen it since. Bet I can find another ewe’s milk cheese, though.
    In case I can’t – do you still have burgers in the freezer if I stop by?

  25. White On Rice Couple Says:

    Whoa!! Todd would be all over this post right now. He’ll want to be your best-est buddy! He’s at work now, so I’ll show it to him later for him to drool.
    Great looking burgers Mike!!

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