Wine Varietal: Merlot
Two of the things that Washington State (my home state) are know for, is the fruit and the wine. This recipe utilized both elements, plums, and wine. I used plums and merlot from Washington, but California plums, and Sutter Home merlot will work just as well.
Vegetable oil for brushing the grill rack
For The Plum And Merlot Reduction
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup merlot
1 Tbsp sugar
For The Burgers
6 slices of bacon
1 Tbsp butter or margarine
3 lb ground beef
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp marjoram
1 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
6 good quality hamburger buns
Preheat the grill to medium-high, or prepare a medium-hot fire.
When the grill is ready, brush on some of the vegetable oil
To make the plum and merlot reduction, cut each plum in half, and remove the pit. In a small bowl whisk together the 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil, and the balsamic vinegar. Dip the cut sides of the plums into the oil and vinegar mix, and place on the grill, cut side down. Grill for 5 minutes, then turn over, and grill for another 5 minutes.
Place the plums in a food processor, and pulse a 5-10 times. Add the merlot, the sugar, and the remaining oil and vinegar mix. Turn the food processor on for about 10-20 seconds, to thoroughly mix the plums and wine. Pour the mixture into a small saucepan, and place the pan on the grill. Cook for about 20-30 minutes, until thickened.
To prepare the bacon, place a small skillet on the grill. Cut the bacon into small pieces and add it to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon pieces are crispy, and the fat is rendered out, about 5-10 minutes. Remove the bacon from the skillet and set aside. Empty the excess grease from the skillet, and wipe it out with paper towels.
To prepare the shallots, place the skillet back on the grill. Thinly slice the shallots. Add them to the skillet along with the 1 Tablespoon of butter. Cook the shallots for about 5 minutes, until soft and just starting to brown. Do not overcook them, or they will become bitter. Remove the shallots, and set aside.
To make the patties, in a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, salt, thyme, oregano, marjoram, and 3 Tbsp of the plum and merlot reduction. Shape the ground beef mixture into 12 equal sized patties.
Divide 1/2 cup of the gorgonzola cheese and the bacon among 6 of the patties. Place the remaining patties on top, and seal the edges of the burgers.
Rub some more oil on the grill if necessary. Place the burgers on the grill, and cook for 6-8 minutes on each side, or until done to preference. If they start to burn, then move them to a cooler part of the grill.
After the initial cooking time, brush about 1 teaspoon. of the plum and merlot reduction on top of the burgers, and flip them over. Cook for 2 minutes, then brush another teaspoon of the plum and merlot reduction, and flip, and cook for another 2 minutes.
Place each burger on the bottom half of a hamburger bun. Divide the remaining gorgonzola cheese and the shallots among the six burgers. Top each burger with 1-2 Tbsp of the plum and merlot reduction, and place the top of the bun on top of the burger and serve.