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Fresh Autumn Harvest Burger with Spicy Maple Caramelized Onion Relish

I like to grill year round, especially in the cooler fall months. I created this recipe out of my desire for a more autumnal flavored burger. The savory aromas and earthy sweetness of this burger capture the rich warmth of autumn comfort food, which we all know and love.

Ingredients 

Spicy Caramelized Onion Relish:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp dry mustard
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ cup Sutter Some Sweet Red Wine
2 tbsp maple syrup
¼ cup chopped walnuts
Fresh Herb Aioli:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp Worcestershire
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
½ tsp fresh thyme leaves
Patties:
2lbs freshly ground chuck (80/20)
1 granny smith apple, peeled & coarsely grated
¼ cup cornmeal
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
4 oz chunk of Vermont cheddar cheese, cut into 6 - ¼" thick slices

6 potato hamburger buns, lightly toasted

Instructions 

Preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make spicy caramelized onion relish:
Put olive oil, sliced onions, red pepper flakes, ground ginger, dry mustard and salt into a fire-proof saucepan and place on a gas grill over medium-high heat. Saute for 8-10 minutes until onions are tender and slightly translucent. Add sweet red wine and maple syrup. Saute another 8-10 minutes until nicely caramelized. Remove from heat and stir in walnuts.
Set aside.

To make Fresh Herb Aioli:
Stir together the mayonnaise, minced garlic, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt, parsley and thyme. Refrigerate.

To make Patties:
In large bowl, place the ground beef, grated apple, cornmeal, egg, salt, pepper and thyme leaves. Mix lightly until well combined being careful not to over mix as this will cause the patties to become very dense. Divide meat mixture into 6 equal portions of about ¾ cup each. Divide each portion in half and shape into two patties approximately 4 inches in diameter. Place a chunk of the Vermont cheddar cheese onto the center of one patty and top with the other patty. Seal edges well.

Oil the grates on the preheated grill to prevent the patties from sticking. Place patties on grill, cover and cook 5-7 minutes. Flip patties and cook another 3-5 minutes or until done to preference. Remove from grill and cover with foil to rest while you toast the buns.
To toast buns:
Place split buns, cut side down, on outer edges of the grill. Toast for a minute or two until lightly browned.

To assemble the Fresh Autumn Harvest Burger: Place one tablespoon of the herb aioli on bottom of bun, top with a patty and then with 1 heaping tablespoon of the Spicy Caramelized Onion Relish. Place top on burger and enjoy!

Makes 6 burgers.