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All-American Bacon Mushrooms Cheeseburgers Made-Over in South Philly

The quintessential All-American burger has seasoned patties topped with bacon, mushrooms and cheese, all atop some crunchy lettuce and onion - or at least, that's my ideal burger. When I began dating my husband, an Italian, I took an even deeper interest in Italian foods, flavors and ingredients, and shopped more enthusiastically at local markets in the Italian neighborhood of my hometown, Philadelphia. This is a great local American burger because it takes my Bacon Mushroom Cheeseburger through the Italian neighborhoods in South Philadelphia for a local makeover. They become Porcini-Crusted Burgers with Herbed Pancetta and Radicchio Slaw. Mangia!

Ingredients 

Herbed Pancetta:

3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

2 tablespoons ground fennel seed

1 teaspoon Smokehouse ground black pepper (like McCormick brand)

2 tablespoons Sutter Home Pinot Noir

12 - 1/4 inch thick slices pancetta

Radicchio Slaw:

1/4 cup walnut oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard

1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 pound thinly sliced fresh radicchio

1/4 pound thinly sliced fresh fennel bulb, including fronds

1/2 cup diced fresh red onion

Patties:

2 pounds ground chuck

3 tablespoons Sutter Home Pinot Noir

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic

2 teaspoons Smokehouse ground black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1/2 ounce ground dried porcini mushrooms

Vegetable oil, for brushing the grill rack

6 - 3/4 ounce slices Italian Sharp Provolone cheese

6 fresh split Kaiser rolls, with a slightly chewy bite to the crust

Instructions 

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

- To make the Herbed Pancetta, mix together thyme, fennel and pepper in a small bowl. Add wine to another small bowl. Dip pancetta slices into wine, rub the herb mixture onto both sides of the pancetta and set aside.

- To make the Radicchio Slaw, in a small bowl, whisk together walnut oil, lemon juice, mustard, pepper and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together, radicchio, fennel and red onion, cover and refrigerate until serving.

- To make the patties, spread the chuck out in a large shallow pan. Sprinkle evenly with wine, sage, rosemary, garlic, pepper and salt. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the rolls. Add the porcini mushrooms to a medium bowl and evenly press ground mushroom mixture into both sides of each patty.

- When the grill is ready, place pancetta slices on the grill rack and cook until the meat is lightly browned and the edges are crisped and browned, turning once, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. Remove pancetta from grill and keep warm. Burn off grill, as necessary.

- Toss reserved walnut oil-lemon dressing with reserved radicchio mixture and set aside.

- To cook the patties, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill rack, cover and cook until browned on the bottom, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the patties and cook until done to preference, 4 to 5 minutes longer for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking place cheese on the patties and place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.

- To assemble the burgers, on each roll bottom, place an equal portion of the slaw, followed by a cheese-topped patty and two slices of pancetta. Add the roll tops and serve. Makes 6 burgers.

Comments 

I use a small electric grinder to grind the fennel seeds and the porcini mushrooms. To avoid the pancetta curling, make a 1-inch slit at opposite edges of each pancetta slice before grilling.