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Amazing Mosaic Burgers with Seared Pepper Bacon and Chardonnay Creamed Mushrooms

One of my favorite burger toppings is crispy fried bacon. The idea of cutting the bacon into small squares and placing them all over the surface of the patties came to me as I was trying to think of a way to include bacon without the mess of having to fry it separately. I wasn't sure if it would actually stay on the patties or fall off and create the biggest grease fire ever. Much to my delight, not only did the bacon stay on, but it seared onto the burgers, sealing in all of the flavor and juiciness. It tasted so much like a wonderful grilled steak, I chose and created toppings that would go well with a great steak.


2 pounds ground chuck
12 slices thick-cut pepper bacon
Coarse ground steak seasoning (I prefer McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning)
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon flour
1/3 cup Sutter Home Chardonnay wine
1/3 cup heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
2 tablespoons softened butter
6 ciabatta rolls, split
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
4 ounces shaved Parmesan cheese


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

To make the patties: Divide the ground chuck into 6 equal portions and, using a light hand, gently form into 3 1/2-inch patties. Stack the bacon, a few slices at a time, and cut into inch-length pieces, creating small squares. Gently press the bacon squares, side-by-side in a single layer, onto the front and back of each patty, completely covering the surfaces like a mosaic. Sprinkle steak seasoning liberally on both sides of the patties. Place on a platter, cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

To make the creamed mushrooms, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large, heavy fire-proof skillet placed on the grill. Add the minced shallot and garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and sauté briefly. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are tender and liquid is reduced by half, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle flour over mushrooms and stir until blended. Pour in chardonnay and cream, stirring until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Season with kosher salt and chipotle pepper. Stir in parsley and lemon juice; simmer 1 minute more. Add additional wine if mixture becomes too thick. Cover to keep warm and remove from heat.

Increase temperature to medium-high. Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Gently place the patties on the rack, cover and cook, turning once, 5 to 6 minutes on each side for medium. Remove to a clean platter and tent loosely with foil. Lightly butter each half of the ciabatta rolls and place, buttered-side down, on the rack to toast lightly.

To assemble the burgers, place several spinach leaves on the bottom half of each roll. Top with a hamburger, 2 to 3 spoonfuls of creamed mushrooms, and shaved Parmesan cheese. Place the top of each roll on the burgers and serve.