RECIPES: Recipe Details

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9th Street Market Burgers

South Philadelphia is famous for, among other things, producing lots of singers (including my husband), Philly cheesesteaks, and "9th Street," which is also known as the Italian market. The market is several blocks long (and begins at Pat’s – the home of the original cheesesteak) and consists of various food and kitchen equipment stores and restaurants, each fronted by open-air food stalls. After the war in Vietnam, many Vietnamese immigrated to the Philadelphia area and were attracted to this market area because it reminded them of their own open-air markets at home. Consequently, many of the food purveyors and restaurants became Vietnamese. This is my fusion version of the Philly cheesesteak, taking ingredients from both Italian culture and the Oriental culture .


3/4 cup ketchup
6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
4-1/2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
3 tablespoons honey

6 cups thinly sliced sweet onion
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar

2 pounds ground beef chuck
1/4 cup Sutter Home Pinot Grigio
3/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fennel seed, ground medium-fine in a spice grinder
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoons Oriental five-spice powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
12 ounces sliced mild provolone cheese
6 long sub rolls (6-inch), split


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

To make Sriracha Ketchup, combine all ingredients.

To make onions, place all ingredients in a heavy heat-proof skillet directly on grill rack and grill onions, stirring frequently, until softened and caramelized, about 30 minutes.

Place ground chuck, wine, basil and garlic in a large bowl. Combine the fennel and next 4 ingredients and add to bowl. Handling meat as little as possible, mix well and shape into 6 long patties formed to fit the rolls. Brush grill rack with oil and grill patties to desired degree of doneness, 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium. During last few minutes of grilling time, place cheese on patties to melt. Also during last few minutes of grilling time, lightly toast both sides of rolls on edge of grill.

To assemble burgers, spoon a generous amount of Sriracha Ketchup on cut sides of rolls. Place patties on bottom halves, then top with onions and roll tops.

Makes 6 burgers.


The burgers are basically spiced with Italian flavors, except for the five-spice powder, which is a nod to the Orient. The Sriracha Ketchup is a nice contrast to the creamy provolone and sweet caramelized onions.