Cook with Jacques and Friends

I met Jacques as a student, while working the Fancy Food Show in Monterey, California. He chased me down a corridor in search of an escape from all the fancy food at the event. He wanted a simple burger! This is my lamb burger, the one I serve at my brunch spot, The Grey Jay in Burlington, Vermont because, I agree, sometimes you just want a burger.

Lamb Burger with Tzatziki and Whipped Feta

Make sure the lamb has plenty of fat and don’t overwork the meat or it will toughen as it cooks. We also brush our buns with a little grape molasses to add a touch of sweetness.


For the Tzatziki

  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pint labne or thick Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups diced cucumbers
  • ½ cup chopped dill

For the Whipped Feta

  • ½ cup cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup crumbled feta

For the Burger

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing the grill or pan
  • 4 sesame burger buns, toasted
  • Grape molasses, optional
  • Olive spread


  1. To make the tzatziki: In a medium bowl stir together the garlic, lemon juice and salt, and let it sit for about 10 minutes for the garlic to mellow. Add the olive oil, labne and cucumbers and, using a large spoon, mix together. Stir in the dill. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
  2. To make the whipped feta: In a medium bowl, using a fork, mash together the cream cheese and feta until just combined. Don’t overmix as it’s nice with some pieces of feta, to give some texture. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the ground lamb, mint, oregano, onion powder and salt and mix until combined. Do not over mix or the meat will become chewy when cooked. Divide into 4 portions and shape into flat patties, about ½-inch thick.
  4. Preheat the grill to medium-high or heat a grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Brush the grill or pan lightly with oil. Cook the burgers, turning once, until they reach an internal temperature of 160°F, about 4 minutes on each side. Brush with some grape molasses, if using. Grill the buns, cut side down just to mark and lightly toast.
  5. To build the burger, arrange the bun bottoms on 4 plates and spread with the olive spread. Place the burger on top and then dollop with the tzatziki. Spread the whipped feta over the tops of the bun and set on top. Serve immediately.

In the Know

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