RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Southern Burgers With Caramelized Vidalia Onions, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Georgia Pecan Chevre

Pairs exceptionally well with Sutter Home Sauvignon Blanc.

Serves 
Makes 6 burgers
Ingredients 

Fried Green Tomatoes:

3 cups buttermilk 
5 tablespoons Texas Pete Hot Sauce or other hot pepper sauce
2 large green (unripe) tomatoes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup shelled Georgia pecans
8 ounces Georgia Sweet Grass Chevre or other creamy goat cheese

Spinach Bed:

6 thick hickory-smoked bacon slices 
10 ounces fresh spinach leaves

Patties:

1 tablespoon Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
1 garlic clove
2 3/4 pounds ground Angus chuck
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon Texas Pete Hot Sauce or other hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Sutter Home Zinfandel
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 tablespoon reserved bacon drippings (above)

Carmelized Vidalia Onions:

2 large Vidalia onions 
2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
1 tablespoon reserved bacon drippings (above)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Biscuits:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 Pillsbury Grands Homestyle Southern Style refrigerated biscuits

Vegetable oil, for brushing the grill rack
2 cups vegetable oil, for frying the tomatoes
3 tablespoons reserved bacon drippings, for cooking spinach
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 teaspoons balsamic vinegar reduction

Instructions 

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

If using charcoal, create a hot side of the grill by placing the coals on one side of the grill only.

To prepare the tomatoes, combine the buttermilk and hot sauce in a gallon-sized lock-top plastic bag. Slice the tomatoes into six 1/4-inch thick slices and place in the buttermilk mixture. Seal the bag and set aside in a cool location. Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, and pepper in another gallon-sized lock-top plastic bag and set aside. Place the pecans in a mini food processor and grind finely. Combine the ground pecans with the chevre in a covered container and set aside in a cool location.

To prepare the spinach, dice the bacon and place in a 12-inch fireproof skillet. Cook the bacon on the grill until crispy, transfer with a slotted utensil to paper towels, and set aside; reserve the drippings for later uses. Remove the stems from the spinach leaves, rinse with cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Wrap the spinach with fresh paper towels, place in a gallon-sized lock-top plastic bag, and set aside in a cool location.

To prepare the patties, warm the olive oil in a 6-inch fireproof skillet on the grill. While the oil is warming, mince the garlic and add to the skillet. Cook the garlic for approximately 30 seconds (do not brown), then remove the skillet from the grill and set aside.

Combine the beef, horseradish, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Zinfandel, pepper, salt, seasoned salt, 1 tablespoon reserved bacon drippings, and the warmed garlic-oil mixture in a large mixing bowl, handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form patties to fit the biscuits. Loosely wrap the patties in plastic wrap and set aside in a cool location until ready to grill.

To make the caramelized onions, slice the onions into thin slices and set aside. Warm the olive oil and 1 tablespoon reserved bacon drippings in a 12-inch fireproof skillet on the grill. Add the onions, season with the pepper, and saute, stirring frequently, until translucent, 15 to 20 minutes; avoid burning the onions by adjusting the skillet location away from the direct heat. Add the butter and brown sugar and continue cooking the onions, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes longer. Transfer the onions to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil to keep warm, and set aside.

To cook the biscuits, grease a baking sheet with the butter and place the biscuits on the sheet. Place the sheet on the indirect side of the grill and cover the grill. Cook the biscuits until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes; check frequently so they don't burn. Remove the biscuits from the grill and set aside to keep warm.

Prepare additional hot coals to cook the tomatoes.

Meanwhile, to cook the patties, brush the grill rack with oil. Place the patties on the rack and cover the grill. Cook the patties, turning only once, until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. Remove the patties from the grill, stack in pairs in a metal pan, and loosely cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

To cook the tomatoes, add the additional hot coals to the grill. Pour the 2 cups oil into a 10-inch fireproof skillet, place on the grill over the hot coals, and heat the oil to 350 degrees F. Remove the tomato slices from the buttermilk mixture, place in the flour-cornmeal mixture, then place in the hot oil. Fry the tomato slices on each side until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a platter with paper towels. Spread half of the pecan-chevre mixture on the tops of the tomato slices; reserve the remaining half of the pecan-chevre mixture for later use. Loosely cover the tomatoes with aluminum foil to keep warm and set aside.

To cook the spinach, heat the remaining bacon drippings in a 12-inch fireproof skillet on the grill. Add the spinach, cooked bacon, salt, and pepper and saute the spinach until wilted, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

To assemble the burgers, slice each biscuit horizontally in half. Spread the remaining pecan-chevre mixture on the bottom half of each biscuit. Place an equal portion of the spinach mixture on top of the pecan-chevre mixture on each biscuit, then a patty, an equal portion of the onions, and a tomato slice. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of the vinegar reduction over each tomato slice, add the biscuit tops, and serve.

Comments 

This burger proves that gourmet and southern can be used in the same sentence.

The key to crating this wonderful delight was to create a fusion between gourmet and good ole southern comfort food.  As a resident of Atlanta, Georgia it was not hard coming up with the latter.

There are plenty of meat-and-threes (choice of meat and three side dishes) around here that offer up Vidalias, pecans, biscuits, and fried green tomatoes.

Throw in some local gourmet fusion and there you have it, the world's greatest southern gourmet burger!