Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Feta Cheese and Roasted Jalapeno Burger

Feta must be, rather unfairly, thought of as the most unversatile of all cheeses. Apart from sitting atop a Greek salad in a Greek restaurant, or possibly in a filo parcel (also in a Greek restaurant), or crumbled over a lamb stew (also in... er, you get the idea) where do you see it featured in dishes from other cultures?

It's a shame really, because this cheese holds its shape well, is salty, lemony, fresh and zingy. Perfect to complement a plethora of meat, chicken or fish dishes, due to its ability to retain its unique character among other robust ingredients.

The reason I decided that a lump of feta should adorn a burger, was that on a trip I took to North Carolina last autumn, I was served a cream cheese and chilli pepper burger in a restaurant, which for the first two minutes was incredible, and a disaster for the duration of the rest of the meal. The problem was that the formerly solid block of cold cream cheese rapidly melted away to create a warm milky mess all over my burger, me, the plate, the table, and a bit of the floor.

I couldn't fault the flavour though. So, on my return home, I vowed to crack the conundrum to create the perfect cream cheese burger. The addition of roasting the jalapenos was all me, though. I felt that the moisture generated from roasting the chillies would be able to counteract any moisture-loss from substituting the cream cheese for the intrinsically drier feta.

So here it is: The perfect solution to a delicious problem. The feta holds its shape well, and is every bit as rich and tasty as the cream cheese - without the need for protective clothing to be able to eat it. Plus, the roasted peppers, make for a less-harsh, more luxurious taste. The key with the cheese is to carefully slice the feta laterally through the middle of the block, to create a 5-6mm layer. Any thicker than that, and you won't notice any other ingredient in the burger.

One last thing: Use a dense bread roll, like ciabatta or sourdough, instead of a regular burger bun. The richness of the fillings need something more substantial to hold it all together.

Oh, and one last, last thing: I found that the burger was best eaten without any condiments. Ketchup and mustard would interfere with the flavours too much, and because of the jalapenos, you don't need really them anyway.

200g feta blocks are around £1.80 (you will get 2 servings from one block), and ciabatta rolls are 50 pence each; which means that cost-wise, this gourmet treat will set you back £2.50 per serving. Enough left over from your Potless budget to buy some fries.

Serves 2


4 large fresh green jalapeno chilli peppers (not pickled)
300g ground beef
Pinches of salt and pepper
Handful of fresh rocket or watercress
1 x 200g block of feta
2 ciabatta or sourdough rolls

Place the chillies on a baking tray and roast in a hot oven for 25-30 minutes until wilted. Place the chillies in a bowl and cover with clingfilm, to loosen their skins. In the meantime, form the beef into two patties, slightly larger than the area of the bread rolls, to allow for shrinkage. Fry the burgers on each side until cooked (3 minutes on each side approx) and season to taste. Split the rolls through the centre and lightly toast the cut sides. Place some salad leaves on the lower bun and top with a burger patty. Carefully slice the feta block laterally through the centre to create two 5-6mm thick slices, and place a slice on top of the burger. Take the jalapenos from the clingfilmed bowl and remove the skins and stalks. Roughly chop the jalapeno flesh and place a spoonful on top of the feta cheese. Add the top bun and serve immediately.


  1. Great Recipe Reggie,
    I'm going to try it, and dedicate it to all feta lovers, and just for EWE.


    1. Thanks Tone,

      But don't FLOCK about trying to RAM any extra ingredients in, or you'll end up feeling SHEEPish.

      Reg x


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