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Savory Napa Valley Burger Dressed with Merlot-Mushroom Jam and Gorgonzola-Studded Tender Salad Greens

This is a "vin version" of my Moist and Meaty Martini Burger. Although we have wine with our meals regularly, I don't often cook with it. This was a great opportunity to explore the characteristics of different wines in cooking. Some work, some don't. After much experimentation, this is the one that delivered a terrific burger. Like the Martini Burger, this recipe lets a delicious burger speak for itself, while the merlot-mushroom jam adds a tasty flavor.

Ingredients 

4 cloves finely minced garlic, divided ( 2 for marinade, 2 for jam)
½ cup Sutter Home Merlot ( ¼ cup for marinade, ¼ cup for jam)
8 Tbsp.Colavita extra virgin olive oil, divided (1 Tbsp. for marinade, 1 Tbsp. for jam, 4 Tbsp. for rolls, 2 Tbsp for the salad greens)
2 tsp. Dijon mustard (1 for marinade, 1 for salad greens)
2 tsp. salt, divided ( ½ tsp. for marinade, 1 ½ tsp. for meat)
1 ½ tsp. fresh-cracked black pepper, divided ( ½ tsp. for marinade, ½ tsp. for meat, ½ tsp. for jam)
2 lbs. fresh ground chuck beef
1 small onion, chopped
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 Tbsp tomato paste
½ tsp. sugar
6 poppy-seed Kaiser rolls
vegetable oil for brushing grill
4 cups of tender mixed lettuce greens

Instructions 

Start Fire (Note: after cooking the merlot-mushroom jam, additional coals will need to be added to bring the fire back up to temperature for cooking the hamburgers, as noted below) Start coals in grill. (I use a Weber Smoky Joe). Make individual loose balls of 6 newspaper sheets and place them in bottom of grill. Put charcoal screen on top. Pour a mound of charcoal onto screen. Light the newspaper. When coals are very hot and covered in ash (about 25 minutes), spread them out and put the grill tray on top. While the coals heat, make the marinade and hamburger patties. Marinade In a shallow pan that will hold 6 hamburgers patties, mix together 2 cloves minced garlic ¼ cup Sutter Homes Merlot 1 Tbsp. Colavita extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp. Dijon mustard ½ tsp. salt ½ tsp. fresh-cracked pepper Set aside, reserving 2 Tbsp. of the marinade in a small bowl for greens. Hamburgers In medium bowl mix 2 Lbs. ground chuck beef 1½ tsp. salt ½ tsp. fresh cracked pepper Lightly form mixture into 6 equal ½ inch thick patties, being careful to not over-work the meat. Place patties in pan holding the marinade, turning them gently to coat. Cover and set in cooler or refrigerator. Merlot-Mushroom Jam When the coals are hot, heat a medium sized grill-safe sauté pan. Add 1 Tbsp. Colavita extra virgin olive oil Saute until softened and just turning golden, about 4 minutes 1 chopped onion Stir in and cook for 2 minutes Remaining 2 cloves of minced garlic 8 ounces thinly sliced crimini mushrooms Add 3 cups of low sodium beef broth Remaining ¼ cup Sutter Home Merlot Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 2 cups, about 30 minutes. After the jam has reduced, stir in 1 Tbsp. tomato paste ½ tsp. sugar Remaining ½ tsp. of black pepper Continue reducing the jam over medium heat until it is thick enough that you can see the bottom of the pan when you pull your spoon through, about another 15 minutes. The merlot-mushroom jam should be very thick and chunky looking. Adjust seasonings. Set aside 2 Tbsp. of the finished jam for use later with the Kaiser rolls. Cover the remaining jam and set aside away from direct heat to stay warm. Refuel Fire Add more coals to bring fire back to a very hot temperature, about 20 minutes. Prepare Kaiser Rolls In a small bowl, whisk together 4 Tbsp Colavita extra virgin olive oil 2 Tbsp. of the finished merlot-mushroom jam Split and brush lightly with the olive oil/jam mixture 6 poppy seed Kaiser rolls Cook Hamburgers and Heat Rolls When grill is very hot brush it with vegetable oil and place the hamburgers on it. Cook them for about 3 to 4 minutes, and then turn them over to cook for another 3 minutes. While the burgers continue cooking, place the Kaiser rolls on the grill, brushed side down, to toast for about 2 minutes until golden crispy. Prepare Gorgonzola Salad Greens To the small bowl containing the 2 Tbsp. reserved marinade Whisk in 2 Tbsp. Colavita extra virgin olive oil Pour mixture over 4 cups salad greens Sprinkle greens with 4 ounces crumbled gorgonzola and gently toss. Assemble Hamburgers Place the toasted roll bottoms on a serving platter, placing a hamburger on each one. Put a generous mound of the gorgonzola salad greens on the hamburger. Slather about 3 Tbsp. of the merlot-mushroom jam on the toasted side of the roll top, and place on top of the salad greens.

Comments 

Different beef broths, even low sodium ones, will reduce down somewhat differently. That is why it is important to taste the jam and adjust seasonings.