Chorizo Beef Burgers

Wine Varietal: Zinfandel

My inspiration is a flavorful Spanish chorizo that was served at parties by a Spanish family I knew in college. They prepared other great appetizers as well, but the fantastic flavor of that sausage has stuck in my memory all these years, so I decided to build a burger around it.

Ingredients:

SMOKY TOMATO AIOLI
1/4 cup drained marinated sun-dried tomatoes
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika

ORANGE PIQUILLO RELISH
3/4 cup piquillo peppers, drained, sliced
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
3/4 cup peeled, diced oranges
1/2 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

PATTIES
1/4 cup finely chopped or grated red onion
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons roasted ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
8 ounces finely chopped Spanish chorizo
4 teaspoons minced fresh garlic

Vegetable oil for brushing grill rack
6-1 ounce slices Manchego cheese
6 Telera rolls or sweet French rolls, split
1 1/2 cups baby arugula
3/4 cup smoked roasted almonds, coarsely chopped

Instructions:

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make the smoky tomato aioli, place the tomatoes and garlic in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the mayonnaise and paprika and blend. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate.

To make the orange piquillo relish, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate.

To make the patties, combine the onion, parsley, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix well. Add the ground chuck and chorizo and mix gently but thoroughly. Shape into six 1/2-inch thick patties. Sprinkle garlic on both sides and gently press in.

Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the meat patties on the oiled rack. Grill uncovered for 4 to 5 minutes per side, turning once, or until desired doneness. During the last 2 minutes of grilling, top each patty with cheese and place rolls cut sides down on the grill until lightly toasted.

To assemble the burgers, spread smoky tomato aioli on the toasted sides of each roll. Layer each roll bottom with arugula and a cheese-topped patty. Top each patty with a dollop of orange-piquillo relish and a sprinkle of smoked almonds. Add the roll tops and serve.