When I lived in Kalamazoo, Michigan, my old bff and I used to be once-a-week regulars at an Irish pub called O’Duffy’s. She (conveniently) lived across the street and we’d have our standing Wednesday night date to complain to Chris, our neighborhood bartender, about everything happening in our Kalamazoo lives. We’d belly up to the ornately carved bar and drink Bombay Sapphire n’ tonics or Guinness. The Guinness was always poured properly, complete with shamrock on top. My vegetarian bff introduced me to O’Duffy’s spinach feta burger. It’s not something I would have ever ordered in place of a meat burger. Ever. But she split one with me one day and I was hooked forever. I asked Jamie, O’Duffy’s owner, several times for the recipe and he told me it was passed down to him from the pub’s previous owners and that he would never ever give it to anyone. I pieced this recipe together and guessed a lot. Jamie would give no hints, I mean, even the menu doesn’t describe the burger, all it reads is, “a tradition at 804 W. Vine“. Jamie, I hope I did your spinach feta burger justice. It didn’t taste exactly the same (I don’t own a deep fryer, and I’m pretty sure that’s how he gets the distinctive crunch on both sides and all edges) but it was still pretty damn good, if I do say so myself!
First things first, plan ahead about thawing your spinach. Next time I might try fresh spinach and give it a whirr in the food processor, but this time around I used the frozen packaged kind. It will take a day or two if you thaw it in the fridge, or 4 minutes on defrost in the microwave. Either way, once your spinach is thawed, you have to squeeze all the water out of it. I used a few coffee filters to do this. They worked pretty well! You can also use paper towel, but I feared the fibers might get into the spinach. Once the spinach is drained it will look like a very paltry amount, but do not worry, it will be ok. Add the spinach to a large bowl and throw in the olive oil, zested garlic cloves, grated carrots, oregano, thyme, dill, feta, beaten egg, and stuffing. If you don’t have stuffing, you can use panko. If you don’t have panko, use breadcrumbs. Also, I’ve been finding feta goat cheese called “chevretine” and it’s the creamiest, most delicious feta ever. At $17/lb it’s a bit on the pricey side, but hey, the spinach probably ran you $.99 and it’s worth it, I swear.
Once you’ve got all the ingredients into the bowl, mix them well, really really well, and pat the mixture flat onto the bottom of the bowl. Next, do the Rachel Ray criss cross method she does on every single show to portion out her burgers.
Form the burger patties and set aside. Heat a drizzle of olive oil and a small pat of butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Swirl it around. Once hot, add the burgers and cook until browned, about 3-4 minutes per side. While the burgers are cooking, mix yogurt with fresh dill, garlic, finely diced cucumber, salt and pepper. I did a 3-fingered pinch of salt and maybe 1/4 of a teaspoon of pepper. To serve, schmear a toasted bun with yogurt sauce, add sliced tomato and lettuce. O’Duff’s always added sprouts, so feel free to add them if you have them.
Spinach Feta Burgers
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 6-8 minutes
Makes: 4 burgers
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- 10 oz packet of frozen, chopped spinach
- 1 cup Pepperidge Farm herb seasoned stuffing mix
- 1/3 cup shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 cloves of garlic, zested
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, rough chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
- 1 sprigs thyme leaves
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 4 hamburger buns, toasted
- 3/4 cup Greek non-fat yogurt
- 1/2 garlic clove, zested
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
- 1 small cucumber (mini-cuke) diced (about 1/3 of a cup)
- salt and pepper to taste (a 3-fingered pinch and 1/4 of a teaspoon)
- Thaw and drain spinach until mostly dry. In large bowl, combine spinach and the next 10 items from the above burger ingredient list.
- Mix burger ingredients well and form 4 patties
- Mix all ingredients for Yogurt sauce and set in refrigerator to chill.
- Heat a drizzle of olive oil with a small pat of butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the burgers and cook until browned, about 3-4 minutes per side.
- Serve on toasted buns with yogurt sauce, lettuce and tomato slices.