Chocolate Chile Cheeseburgers With Cherry Curtido (aka “Those Yummy Chocolate Things”)

Pairs well with:


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

The inspiration for this burger came from my 13-year-old son who suggested I make a chocolate covered cheeseburger.While I applauded his creativity, I knew his idea wasn’t quite feasible. However, it did get me thinking. Is it possible to successfully add chocolate to a cheeseburger? Surprisingly, the answer is a resounding YES! I have added dark chocolate to savory recipes in the past, so I decided to take additional inspiration from the ancient Aztecs and added a little Central American twist. With hints of sweet, spice, smoke and tang, this burger goes beyond umami. It has become a family favorite and once you taste the unlikely yet tantalizing layers of flavor you, too, will become addicted to this exotic cheeseburger!



Cherry Curtido:

1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
3 tablespoons chopped dried cherries
2 teaspoons honey
3 teaspoons minced pickled jalapeno peppers
2 tablespoons minced yellow onion
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon minced parsley

Mayo Chili Sauce:

2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce (the kind you put on hot dogs and burgers)
¼ teaspoon chipotle powder


1/2 pound ground chorizo sausage
4 strips bacon
2 pounds ground chuck (20% fat)
1/3 cup diced chili flavored dark chocolate* (can substitute good quality semisweet chocolate bar)
3 tablespoons canned, diced green chiles
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup Sutter Home Zinfandel

Vegetable oil for grill rack
6 slices Asadero cheese (can substitute Monterey Jack)
6 good quality hamburger buns
Nonstick Foil (can use foil sprayed with nonstick cooking spray)

*You can find chili flavored dark chocolate bars on the candy aisle of most major grocery stores. Look for the imported chocolate bars and truffles section.



For the curtido…Put all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir well, making sure ingredients are well coated with honey and spices. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep refrigerated until ready to use. (May be made a day ahead and kept refrigerated.)

For the sauce…Whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, chili sauce and chipotle powder until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. When grill is heated, cook ground chorizo in a large fireproof skillet until browned. Remove chorizo to a double layer of paper towels and allow grease to drain off. Place skillet back on grill and cook bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon once it has cooled enough to handle. (Don’t forget to stir the curtido in the fridge!)

For the patties…Combine all of the patty ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a fork until all ingredients are well incorporated. (Do not mix with your hands as this will melt the chocolate and also cause the burger to become drier. Try not to overwork as this can lead to a tougher burger.) Divide patty mixture into 6 portions and gently form into patties. Press thumb into the center of each patty, forming an indentation. (This will help keep the patty from shrinking inward too much.) Set patties aside until ready to grill.

When ready to cook patties, brush grill rack with oil. Place patties on rack and grill 4-5 minutes. Flip burgers and cook 3-4 minutes more. (Burgers will be cooked to medium doneness.) Place a slice of cheese on top of burgers, lower the grill lid and cook 1 minute longer. Remove patties from grill and tent lightly with nonstick foil. Place buns, cut side down, onto rack and grill until lightly toasted. Remove buns from grill.

To assemble the burgers…Lightly spread bottoms of buns with sauce. Place burgers on top of sauce. Spoon curtido on top of cheeseburgers. Spread remaining sauce on bun tops and place on top of the curtido. Serve immediately and enjoy!