Adobo Burgers with Cilantro-Pecan Pesto

Pairs well with:

Cabernet Sauvignon

This rich red easily complements your homemade chicken dishes, red meats, game, and mildly seasoned pastas.


3/4 cup pecan pieces
3 cups packed fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup cilantro-pecan pesto (above)
3 tablespoons puréed canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
3 tablespoons raspberry-Chipolte sauce
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning blend
2 pounds ground chuck
1/2 cup cilantro-pecan pesto (above)
2 tablespoons puréed canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons raspberry-Chipolte sauce
2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 large sweet yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Colavita aged balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning blend
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
3/4 pound artisan Monterey Jack cheese, sliced
6 whole wheat hamburger buns, split
3 cups organic pre-washed bagged baby romaine lettuce
3 Roma tomatoes, sliced
2 large avocados, sliced



Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium high.

To make the pesto, when the grill is ready, place the pecan pieces in a large fire-proof skillet on the grill rack. Roast pecans until lightly toasted, about 4 or 5 minutes. Stir often. Remove the pan from the grill and set aside. Place cilantro, garlic, salt and cheese in the food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Add toasted pecans and olive oil. Pulse mixture until a paste is formed. Set aside.

For the patties, mix together 1/3 cup pesto, chilies, raspberry-chipotle sauce, garlic, salt, and seasoning blend in a large bowl. Add the ground chuck. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Form into 6 equal size patties. Cover the patties with plastic wrap and set aside.

To make the pesto cheese spread, combine 1/2 cup of the pesto, chilies, cream cheese and raspberry-chipotle sauce in a small bowl. Use a fork to mix ingredients and set aside. Reserve the remaining pesto for later use.

For the caramelized onions, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large fire-proof skillet on the grill. Add the onions, vinegar and seasoning blend. Cook until the onions are tender and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Stir often. Set aside and keep warm.

Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack and cook until done to preference, approximately 4 minutes per side for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking, place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill rack to toast lightly. During the last minute of cooking, place the sliced cheese on each patty to melt.

To assemble the burgers, spread a generous amount of the pesto cheese spread on both cut sides of the buns. On each bun bottom, place 1/2 cup of lettuce, an equal portion of the caramelized onions, a patty, 2 tablespoons of pesto, 2 to 3 tomato slices and 3 avocado slices. Add the bun tops and serve.