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Kalamata and Feta Stuffed Greek Taverna Burgers with Balsamic Mayonnaise

A modern twist on classic Greek ingredients give these burgers a distinctive taste. To pack in flavor, we stuffed the patties with Kalamata olives and feta cheese. It's an American rendition of what you might find in a Greek Taverna (tavern)! My husband and I came up with this recipe. I am of full Greek descent; my parents, grandparents, great grandparents and so on are all Greek. My husband, of course, has been welcomed into our big, fat Greek family with open arms...and it doesn't hurt that he can cook, either.


Balsamic Mayonnaise:
¼ cup Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon
¼ cup Balsamic vinegar
1 whole clove garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
pinch of coarse kosher salt
pinch of black pepper
¼ cup mayonnaise
Kalamata and Feta Stuffing:
½ cup whole pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
juice of ½ small lemon
¼ teaspoon fresh tarragon, coarsely chopped
pinch of coarse kosher salt
pinch of black pepper
3 ounces Greek feta cheese, crumbled
2 pounds 80/20 ground chuck
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
pinch of black pepper
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon oregano
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
½ medium yellow onion, diced
¼ cup tomato paste
splash Balsamic Vinegar
Olive oil, for brushing grill rack
6 Ciabatta rolls, halved lengthwise
1 ½ c. romaine lettuce, chopped
6 yellow onion slices
6 large tomato slices


Makes 6 Burgers Directions: Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. To make the Balsamic Mayonnaise combine the wine and Balsamic vinegar in a heavy, small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Continue to simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, to reduce to about 3 tablespoons total volume. Pour the Balsamic vinegar reduction into a blender. Add garlic, olive oil, kosher salt and black pepper. Blend until all ingredients are well combined, approximately 30-45 seconds. Fold Balsamic vinegar blend into the mayonnaise. Set aside. To make the Kalamata and Feta Stuffing combine the Kalamata olives, olive oil, lemon juice, tarragon, kosher salt and black pepper in a medium bowl. Add the crumbled feta to the olive mixture and toss until well combined. Set aside. To make the patties combine the ground beef, kosher salt, black pepper, cinnamon, oregano, parsley, yellow onion, tomato paste and splash of Balsamic vinegar in a large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions. Remove about 1/3 of each patty, flatten between your palms and set aside. Form the remaining 2/3 of each patty into a circle pinching the edges between your fingers to form a shallow well in the center of each patty. Fill each well with a heaping tablespoon of the Kalamata and Feta Stuffing. Cover each patty and stuffing with the remaining flattened patty, pinching the edges of the bottom patty and the top patty together to encase the stuffing. When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with olive oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, just until done, about 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Place the Ciabatta rolls sliced side down on the outer edges of the grill rack until warm and lightly toasted. To assemble the burgers, spread a generous amount of the Balsamic Mayonnaise over the cut sides of the rolls. On each roll bottom, place a patty, about ¼ cup romaine lettuce, a yellow onion slice and a large tomato slice. Add the roll tops and serve.


We hope to see you in California! Opa!