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Castilian Sunset Cheese Burgers

I dream of visiting Spain some day and often look at photos of Spanish Sunsets to feed that dream. I love the flavors of Spain, particularly, smoked paprika, piquillo peppers, Spanish cheeses, chocolate, and lush fruits. It just seemed perfect to build a burger that reinforces my dream each time I grill, serve, and eat dinner. My Castilian Sunset Cheeseburger even looks the part, beginning with the dark red and green lettuce representing the landscape, to a red-brown cocoa-tinged patty representing the horizon, to the bright yellow orange of a delicious, sunny peach, bursting into bright red of piquillo peppers, representing the sun-fired sky. Okay, I added a couple of extras to the burger, particularly a thin slice of Spanish (purple) onion, and a bit of robust Spanish Blue cheese, cabrales, melted onto the patties. It just goes so well with the beef and peach. And a surprise - chopped carrot in the patty, giving it a little sweetness, color, and a flavor boost to the beef! Can I go to Spain now? No? I’ll just have to eat my burger and sip a flavorful, fruity Sutter Home White Cabernet Sauvignon and keep feeding that dream.


2 1/4 lbs. ground beef chuck
1 cup chopped drained canned carrot
2 tsp. adobo seasoning with bitter orange
1 tsp. coarse salt
1 tbsp. medium or hot smoked paprika
1 small pkt. sazon con azafron or achiote
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup Colavita Olive Oil for grill
2-3 oz. crumbled cabrales cheese (or substitute gorgonzola)
6 Potato Hamburger Buns or Bakery Style Wheat Hamburger Buns, split
2-3 tbsp. mayonnaise
6 medium leaves of leafy lettuce (red and green or green will work)
6 thin slices Spanish (purple) onion
12 thin medallions of ripe peach (I like to use large ripe peaches, sliced into thin circles)
1 cup sliced drained piquillo peppers (can substitute jarred roasted red peppers)


Prepare grill for medium heat. Crumble ground beef chuck into large bowl and add carrot, and adobo seasoning. Mix gently and form into 6 patties.

Mix salt, paprika, sazon, and cocoa powder. Sprinkle over patties and press gently to stick.

Brush olive oil onto grill rack and grill patties, turning occasionally, 4-5 minutes per side, or until medium-rare (or to desired doneness). Last 1-2 minutes of grilling, sprinkle each patty with cabrales and lightly toast buns.

Brush cut sides of toasted buns with mayonnaise and layer in this order:

Lettuce, onion, patty, peach, piquillo peppers, top of bun.

Serve immediately.


The cabrales cheese is pretty strong, so I like to use just enough to sprinkle over each patty so it complements the burger, and doesn