Burgers La Mancha with Sweet Carmalized Reds and Smoky Olive Aïoli

Accolades 2009 Finalists
Serves Makes 6 burgers
Pairs well with:


Bright and full-bodied, this Zinfandel wine is a curious contradiction in tastes.



  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Spanish smoked sweet paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely minced sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 1/4 pounds ground beef chuck

Smoky Olive Aïoli

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed into a paste
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked sweet paprika
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped Spanish manzanilla olives

Sweet Caramelized Reds

  • 1 tablespoon Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 very large or 2 medium red bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked sweet paprika
  • Sutter Home Red to hydrate

Red Wine-Butter Baste

  • 1/2 cup Sutter Home Red
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
  • 8 ounces soft (young) Manchego cheese, sliced
  • 6 high-quality hamburger buns, split
  • 6 Romaine lettuce leaves, trimmed to fit the buns



To make the patties, combine the salt, pepper, pepper sauce, paprika, garlic, onion, and cilantro in a large bowl and mix well. Add the chuck and mix well, handling as little as possible to avoid compacting it. Form into 6 equal patties to fit the buns and depress the centers for even cooking. Cover and refrigerate until ready to grill.

To make the aïoli, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until assembling the burgers.

Prepare a medium fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium heat.

To make the caramelized reds, heat the oil in a large nonstick fireproof skillet on the grill rack or side burner (if available). Add the bell pepper and onion and sprinkle with the sugar and paprika. Sauté until caramelized, yet still slightly al dente, about 10 minutes, reducing the heat if necessary and adding wine as needed to hydrate. Cover the skillet and set aside.

While the vegetables are caramelizing, to make the baste, combine all the ingredients in a small fireproof saucepan. Place on the grill rack or another side burner (if available), bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Cover the pan and set aside.

Increase the heat to medium-high and bush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once and brushing often with the baste, until done to preference, about 5 minutes per side for medium. During the last few minutes of grilling, place the cheese on the patties to melt and place the buns, cut side down, on a hot part of the grill to toast lightly.

To assemble the burgers, spread the cut sides of the buns with the aïoli. Place a lettuce leaf on each bun bottom and top with the patties. Spoon a portion of the caramelized reds over each patty. Add the bun tops and serve.