Spicy Lamb Burgers with Quick-Pickled Red Onions and Sainte-Maure de Touraine

Entertaining, Entrees
By Alexandra Shytsman

Sainte-Maure de Touraine is a creamy, mild goat cheese that can be spotted easily thanks to its light coat of charcoal ash. The cheese’s tanginess is a perfect complement to the rich, grassy flavor of lamb.


For the onions:

  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar or apple cier vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small red onion, sliced into thin rounds

For the burgers and assembly:

  • 1 pound ground lamb (organic and grass-fed, if possible)
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed or grated
  • 1 tablespoon Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablsepoons ketchup
  • 4 hamburger buns, toasted
  • Romaine or butter lettuce, to serve
  • Four 1/2 inch slices of Sainte-Maure de Touraine goat cheese



  1. Make the onions. In a bowl, whisk together the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt until the sugar is fully dissolved. Add the onions, making sure all the pieces are submerged (if not, add a bit more water). Let sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes. (Leftover onions will keep in the fridge for up to 10 days.)
  2. Meanwhile, place the lamb in a large bowl and add the garlic, hot sauce, cumin, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, mix the lamb until all the seasonings are evenly incorporated. Form the mixture into 4 round 3/4 inch thick patties.
  3. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook the burgers for 4 to 5 minutes, until nicely golden on the bottom. Flip and cook the other side for 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. While the burgers are browning, stir the mayonnaise and ketchup together in a small bowl.
  5. To serve, divide the mayonnaise mixture among the hamburger bun bottoms and top with lettuce, burgers, drained pickled onions, and goat cheese. Close the burgers with the bun tops and serve immediately.