RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Cherry Merlot Burgers with Cracked Pepper and Brie on Sourdough

These burgers contain most of my favorite flavors-beef, good red wine, spicy peppercorns, and creamy brie cheese. Toasting mellows the flavor of the sourdough, creating an excellent base.


2 sprigs rosemary
3/4 c dried cherries
3/4 c Sutter Home merlot
1 t  dijon mustard
2 lbs ground sirloin
1 T coarsely ground black pepper
2 t salt
1 T fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 sourdough baguettes, approximately 3' x 3"
1/4 c vegetable oil for oiling the grill rack
6 oz brie, kept very cold (if possible, put in freezer or on ice as burgers cook)
2 c mesculun salad mix


Bend rosemary sprigs to release oils. Add to dried cherries. Soak rosemary and cherries in merlot for 30 to 45 minutes. While cherries are soaking, prepare charcoal grill for medium high heat, or preheat gas grill Strain cherries, reserving wine in a small saucepan. Remove rosemary from cherries, add to the saucepan. Stir in 1 t mustard. Set aside. Finely chop the cherries. Add to sirloin. Combine with pepper, salt, and chopped rosemary. Divide mixture into 6 equal portions. Shape each portion into a 3" by 4" rectangle. Slice ends off of sourdough baguettes. Slice loaves into 6 buns, each approximately 3" by 4". There will be extra bread. Using tongs and a clean towel or paper towel, grease the grill. Place saucepan on the grill. Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally. Sauce sould reduce to about 1/3 c, and will continue to simmer for longer than the burgers take to cook. At the same time, grill burgers about 2 minutes, then rotate 45 degrees. Cook another 2 minutes. Flip burgers. Cook 2 minutes, then rotate 45 degrees. Cook about 2 more minutes, or until burgers reach desired doneness. Remove burgers to a plate. Top each with 1 oz chilled brie. Tent burgers with foil to keep warm. Toast buns on grill until lightly golden brown. Sauce will continue to reduce as buns toast. Remove sauce when it is approximately 1/3 c. To assemble, place burger on the bun. Top with mesculun mix and approximately 1t of the dressing. Top with remaining bun and serve.


This recipie was inspired by a recipe I saw once using filet mignon. I never tried that one, but the flavors combine very well to create a delicious and decadent burger!