RECIPES: Recipe Details

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To make my burger recipe better, I preferred to process chuck steak in my food processor rather than purchase ground chuck. That way I was able to "rub" the spices into the steak before processing, which results in a much more flavorful burger. Pumpkin pie spice often used in turkish crusine, not only enhances the flavor of this burger, but helped to shorten up the number of spices I used. Goat milk mild cheddar cheese is a great cheese for topping this burger-it can be ordered on-line if nessary. Sutter Home Chenin Blanc was my choice of wine to "spike" the fennel. Adding apricot fruit to the creamy mustard added just the right amount of sweetness.


Creamy Mustard Apricot Sauce:
3/4 cup Mild & Creamy Grey Poupon Mustard
3 tablespoons apricot fruit spread
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper-from peppercorns
2-pounds boneless chuck steak-well marbled
1/2 tablespoon Colavita Extra Virgin Olive oil
1/2 cup minced sweet onion
2 cloves garlic-minced
Spiked Caramelized Fennel:
1-1/2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive oil
2 fresh fennel bulbs, trimmed, halved, core removed and very thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup Sutter Home Chenin Blanc
1/2 teaspoon salt
Olive oil to brush grill rack
2 teaspoons salt (for patties)
6 thin slices goat milk mild cheddar cheese
6 cracked whole wheat buns-split
1 large avocado-peel, remove pit and slice into 12 thin wedges


To make sauce, whisk mustard and fruit spread together in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until serving. To make patties, combine coriander, cumin, pumpkin pie spice and black pepper in a saucer; stir together. Place steak on a plate; rub both sides of steak with spice mixture. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat a gas grill for grilling at medium-high heat or prepare a charcoal fire for both direct and indirect cooking (hot and medium-high) in a charcoal grill. When medium-high heat is reached, heat olive oil in a small fire-proof skillet on grill rack. Add onion and garlic. Saute until soft, stirring frequently-about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside. After 30 minutes of chilling steak, cut steak into 1-1/2 inch cubes. Using a food processor fitted with a blade (or meat grinder), process meat in four batches, until coarsely chopped. Transfer steak to a bowl. Add sauteed onion/garlic mixture to beef; mix together handling steak as little as possible. Form 6 patties about 1/2-inch thick; refrigerate patties until needed. To make spiked caramelized fennel, toss fennel and olive oil together in a large nonstick fireproof skillet. Place skillet on grill over medium-high heat and cook, stirring frequently for about 15 to 20 minutes or until fennel is golden and tender. Add wine; stir until most liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat. Salt fennel and stir. Cover skillet; set aside until needed. Brush oil over grill rack. Retrieve patties and salt both sides of each patty. Place patties over medium-high heat and grill until brown on bottom-about 3 minutes. Turn patties and grill until patties are cooked to desired doneness or about 3 to 4 minutes for medium, topping with a slice of cheese the final few minutes of cooking. Transfer burgers to a plate. Place rolls, cut side down on grill and lightly toast. To assemble burgers, place some fennel on each roll bottom. Top with a burger and then abit more fennel-dividing fennel equally among burgers. Add 2 wedges of avocado. Spread sauce over cut side of each roll top and cover burger. Pass remaining sauce when serving. 6 burgers


If using a charcoal grill, begin cooking fennel over hot area then relocate skillet to medium-high heat to finish caramelizing. Cut the fennel as thin as possible. For a flatter burger,I also put a dimple in the middle of the burger before grilling.