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WINE-INFUSED BURGER in HERB FOCACCIA with CRANBERRY-HONEY MUSTARD

The burgers have a wonderful aroma of the wine, and it made for a very tasty burger. The acidity of the wine was nicely complemented by the delicious cranberry honey mustard. It's nice to bite into bits of the pink peppercorn as a surprise taste. This whole recipe is very simple to prepare, yet it is full of flavor!

Ingredients 

INGREDIENTS For patties:
1/2 cup Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon
8 pieces, about 1-1 1/2" diameter, sun-dried tomato (dry)
1 medium-size head (about 2” diameter) garlic, peeled and crushed
3/4 cup Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp pink peppercorns
2 pounds ground beef (I used a 73/27 ratio)
Olive oil, for greasing utensils as described, and patties
For sandwich:
3 loaves of Italian Focaccia bread with herb topping (I used a 4 1/2" X 8” long loaf)
1 head red oak lettuce
1 T Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon
6-7 T mayonnaise
12 slices Provolone cheese
1 small bottle prepared cranberry honey-mustard
6 large fresh button mushrooms, cut into 5 thin slices each
1 medium-size red bell pepper: set aside 6 thin slices, cut horizontally (like rings)
For greasing the grill rack: Vegetable oil

Instructions 

PROCEDURE In a small bowl, put 1/2 cup of the wine. Using kitchen shears, cut up the sun-dried tomatoes into random pieces and soak in the wine for about 5 minutes. Add the crushed garlic to the wine, transfer all into a small electric chopper and chop until it has a paste-like consistency, but keeping some raisin-size bits of the sun-dried tomato. Transfer onto a medium bowl, whisk in the 3/4 cup of wine. Add kosher salt, Italian seasoning and the 2 T olive oil. Whisk until well-blended. In a mortar and pestle, put the pink peppercorns, and grind coarsely. Add this to the wine mixture. Whisk to blend the spices and flavors well. Pour this entire mixture into a bowl with the ground beef. Mix thoroughly, but handle the meat as little as possible, so as not to compact it. Set aside. Pre-heat the gas grill to medium high heat. To make the patties, brush olive oil lightly in a one-cup measuring cup. Pack the cup lightly with enough ground meat mixture almost to the top, transfer to a lightly greased platter (to slide patties easily onto grill rack); then flatten gently to make about 3/4-inch thick patty. Repeat this until you make 6 equal-sized burgers. Prepare the focaccia loaves by cutting into half, so that they make like a bun-size square, around 4 1/2" (depending on the size of focaccia locally available, just cut them into sections that would be bun-like in size). Split horizontally. Prepare 6 focaccia buns to bring outside to grill with the burgers. While waiting for the grill to reach the desired heat level (can take up to 15 minutes), on a preparation table, lay out the fixins and condiments for setting up the sandwiches so that they can be assembled and served soon after the burgers are hot off the grill. Prepare the red oak lettuce: separate 6 leaves from its stalk; use only the top curly leaf section, enough to cover the surface of the cut focaccia. Wash, then pat dry very well. Set aside. Blend in the 1 tablespoon of wine into the mayonnaise. Prepare the provolone cheese, mustard, mushrooms slices and red pepper rings. By now, the grill should be ready. When the briquettes are ashen-color and the flames have subsided, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Brush each patty with a little olive oil, then place them on the rack, leaving enough space around each. Keep the temperature at medium, then lower the lid. From time to time, lift cover and check that there are no flare-ups. After about 5-6 minutes, check color of burger by lifting only the edge. Before flipping, brush with some olive oil again. Rotate position of burgers, if necessary, according to where temperature seems higher, so that all burgers get cooked evenly. On the opposite side, grill for another 4-5 minutes each. Flip burgers only once. During the last few minutes of grilling the second side of the burgers, place the cut-side down of each focaccia on the outer edges of the rack or on the top layer of the rack. Toast the bread for only about 1-2 minutes. Remove bread and burgers from grill when all done, turn off the gas grill, and prepare the sandwich assembly. To assemble, on bottom half of a focaccia, spread about 1 tablespoon of the wine-mayonnaise. Top with a leaf of lettuce, 1 slice of provolone, about 2 teaspoons of the mustard (spread well), a burger patty, another slice of provolone, another 2 teaspoons of mustard (spread well), 5 slices of mushroom, and a ring of red bell pepper. Cover with the top half of the focaccia. Serve immediately. ENJOY!

Comments 

The Focaccia bread should be really fresh so that it is firm and hearty for this flavorful burger patty, yet soft enough so it can be bitten easily. The cranberry honey mustard may sound a lot for each sandwich, but since everything is hearty, it really is quite a good ratio.