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Oktoberfest Burger (featuring a unique pesto, triple cream blue cheese and a beef patty seasoned with horseradish)

This creation for Build a Better Burger is a Big, Bold Burger. Like you, I believe there is nothing better than a good old-fashioned burger served simply with a great roll, lettuce, tomato and mayo. However, when juicy tomatoes are no longer on the vine but I still have a bumper crop of basil the next best thing to do was to create a new pesto flavor. My inspiration for the beet pesto was one of my favorite salads, fresh sliced beets, crumbled blue cheese and toasted walnuts over crisp greens with a tangy Dijon vinaigrette. This classic salad recipe has been transformed into a burger, which I hope is the best of the best burgers you taste. Enjoy.


3 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup freshly minced basil leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup minced red onion
3/4 cup (4oz.) sliced pickled beets
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon
1 Tablespoon Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 pounds ground beef chuck
1/4 cup thick and creamy style horseradish
1/2 cup grated red onion
1/3 cup finely minced fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2-3 Tablespoons vegetable oil, for brushing the grill rack
12 ounces Cambozola cheese or any other triple cream cheese with Blue Cheese Veins, sliced into 6 pieces to fit over burgers
6 bakery fresh hamburger buns, split
1/2 cup Grey Poupon Mild and Creamy Mustard
4 cups European Salad Mix, coarsely chopped


To make the pesto: Place pine nuts, basil, garlic, red onion, beets and salt in the bowl of a food processor; pulse chop about 10 times to combine. Add wine and olive oil; puree. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Makes 3/4 cup.

Preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make patties: Combine the chuck, horse radish, onion, basil, and salt in a large bowl. Handling as little as possible shape into 6 patties. Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, 5-7 minutes per side for medium or longer if one desires well done. Place the cheese slices on the patties during the last 2 minutes of grilling. Place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill rack during the last minute of grilling.

To assemble the burgers: Brush the toasted halves of the buns with mustard; line the bottom half of bun with the salad mix, followed by the cheese topped burger, spread with about 2 Tablespoons of pesto and then cover with the top of the bun. Serves 6.


I have made the pesto with fresh steamed beets and pickled beets. I specified pickled beets as this is what the home cook would most likely find the most convenient to use.

A tip for slicing cheese: Cheese is easier to slice when cold. Slice and place on waxed paper and bring to room temperature before placing on the burgers.