Cuban-Picadillo Burgers

Pairs well with:


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

There is a large Cuban community in South Florida. The Cuban cuisine and lifestyle are a way of life for South Floridians. Until moving here a few years ago, I knew nothing about the Cuban culture and Cuban food. Picadillo was one of the first dishes that I tried and I loved it. It is still one of my favorites and it will always remind me of South Florida so turning into a burger allows me to take those flavors with me any where I live.


2lb ground chuck
1 shallot finely diced
1 garlic clove minced
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons oregano
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
2 tablespoons Sutter Home Merlot
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

2/3 cup mayonnaise
Juice of 1 lime
¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro
3-4 dashes of Tabasco hot sauce
½ teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 7 ounce jar Spanish olives with pimentos drained and chopped
2 tablespoons diced green chilies
3 tablespoons capers drained and chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon pepper

Vegetable oil for brushing grill rack
½ cup Sofrito (such as Goya)
6 slices provolone cheese
Cuban bread cut into bun sized pieces (about 5 inches)
12 slices of tomato


Prepare the patties by combining the ground chuck with shallot, garlic, cumin, oregano, tomato sauce, wine, and salt and pepper in a large bowl, handling as little as possible. Form into 6 equal patties, sized to fit the bread. Using your thumb, create a small well in the center of the patties to prevent them from bulging during cooking. Place patties on a plate, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While patties chill, prepare the cilantro-mayonnaise by combining the mayonnaise, lime juice, cilantro, Tabasco, cumin, and Dijon. Stir until combined, cover and refrigerate.

Preheat a gas grill to medium high.

For the olive salad, combine the chopped olives and pimentos with the green chilies, capers, olive oil, and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

When the grill is ready, brush the rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill, cover, and cook, turning once until done to preference (About 5 minutes on each side for medium, depending on grill). Prior to turning, baste patties generously with Sofrito. Baste the patties 1-2 more times while patties cook on the second side. Top each patty with a slice of provolone cheese 1 minute prior to removing them from the grill.

Flatten each piece of Cuban bread by pressing down with the heel of your palm. Butter the inside of each piece and place on the grill butter side down until toasted.

To assemble the burgers, spread each piece of the bread with the cilantro-lime mayonnaise. On each bottom piece of bread, place ¼ cup of olive salad, followed by one grilled patty. Top each patty with two tomato slices, add the top piece of bread and serve.