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Nouveau Bistro Burger

This burger came about while experimenting with several different ingredients including bacon, caramelized onions, and blue cheese to make a filling for an appetizer. After tasting the results I thought, "this would be great on a burger" and then with further thought decided it would be the filling for my “better burger”. Though the hamburger is an American staple for casual dining, I used many ingredients found on my favorite French menus (onions, Roquefort cheese, smoked pork, brioche) so I decided to call it the Nouveau Bistro Burger.

Ingredients 

1 cup balsamic vinegar
3 medium yellow onions
1 bunch chives
6 cloves of garlic
2 small hearts of romaine lettuce
8 slices peppered bacon
1 cup red wine, preferably Zinfandel
2 1/4 pounds of ground round
1 large egg
1 1/2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
6 ounces Roquefort cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 brioche rolls, split

Instructions 

Reduce balsamic vinegar down to 1/4 cup by placing it in a small saucepan on the cold grill. Light the grill, then turn heat to lowest setting. The reduction process will take about 1-1 1/2 hours. Prep the vegetables: In the meantime, chop two of the yellow onions and slice the remaining onion ½” thick. Finely chop the chives. Slice 4 cloves of the garlic and mince the other 2 cloves of garlic. Cut the hearts of romaine in half, keeping core intact on both sides. Make filling: Set a 12" stainless steel skillet over grill set on medium and cook bacon until fat is rendered but it is not yet crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Add chopped onions and cook over medium heat until the onions begin to take on color. Remove skillet from heat and add wine. Return to grill and cook until wine reduces to a syrup. Add the sliced garlic and turn the heat to low. Cook the onions and garlic until soft and a deep burgundy color. While the onions and garlic are cooking down, prepare the meat: Mix the ground round with the egg, worchestershire sauce, one teaspoon of the pepper and two teaspoons of the salt. Divide mixture into 12 equal pieces and form each piece into 1/2" patties. Place patties in refrigerator until ready to fill. When the onions have reached the proper color, add the Roquefort cheese and stir until the mixture is blended together. Let cool slightly. If there is any excess liquid in the filling, let it drain in a strainer until ready to use. Once the onion Roquefort mixture has cooled, Remove the hamburger patties from the refrigerator and place 1/6th of the Roquefort mixture on 6 of the patties. Top with the other six patties and press together to seal the edges. Keep out of refrigerator if grilling within 30 minutes, otherwise return to refrigerator. When balsamic vinegar has reduced down to 1/4 cup, remove from heat and let cool. When cooled, mix with mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of the chopped chives and all of the minced garlic in a medium bowl. Add remaining ½ teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon of salt. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Reserve 6 tablespoons in a small bowl. Keep both bowls in refrigerator until ready to use. Cut brioche rolls in half. Brush rolls, yellow onion slices and both sides of the hearts of romaine with olive oil. Set aside. Prepare grill by setting all burners to medium high. Using a grill safe brush, prepare grates by brushing with vegetable oil. Place onion slices and hearts of romaine on the grill. Cook with grill top open for 2-3 minutes per side. Romaine will come off first and should just have grill marks but still be firm. Onions will cook a little longer. They are ready when they have grill marks and slightly tender. Cut off core of romaine, shred and place in the medium bowl containing the balsamic mayonnaise. Chop onions and add to the bowl along with remainder of chives. Mix together to make a slaw. Cook burgers on medium high heat for 5-7 minutes per side turning a quarter turn once on each side to get grill marks. Burgers are done when they reach 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Remove and let stand for 5 minutes under a foil tent to keep warm and let juices redistribute. Turn one side of the grill down to low and place the bacon back on the grill and cook for a couple minutes on each side to crisp it up. Place brioche rolls with the cut side down on the medium high side of the grill and toast. Remove the bacon and rolls from the grill. Break the bacon in half. Assemble the burgers: Spread the bottom of each roll with some of the reserved balsamic mayonnaise. Complete the burger by placing a patty on each roll bottom and top with four half strips of bacon, a large spoonful of the grilled romaine slaw and the other half of the brioche rolls.