Date Night Burger

Pairs well with:


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

This recipe was inspired by the dish devils on horseback. It is bacon wrapped dates, served warm. A local restaurant here in Minneapolis serves them stuffed with goat cheese and they are absolutely delicious.


2 Tablespoons minced red onion
½ teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons Sutter Home Zinfandel wine
2 Tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
1 cup chopped pitted medjool dates

2 small red onions, pealed and sliced about ½ inch thick
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
2 garlic cloves, pressed or finely chopped
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 ¼ pounds freshly ground beef chuck (not lean)
4 ounces goat cheese

12 pre-cooked slices of bacon
1 ½ cups arugula
6 hamburger buns


For the date relish:
In a food processor combine the first six ingredients and pulse 4 or 5 times, or until the mixture is combined well but still a bit chunky.

To make the patties, combine the paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and stir to mix. Add the beef chuck and gently combine with the other ingredients. Divide the mixture into 12 equal portions and form into thin patties about 3 inches in diameter. Divide the cheese into 6 portions. Flatten slightly and place on 6 of the patties and press gently into the center. Place the remaining patties on top, pinch the edges to seal the patties closed, so the cheese will not melt out, forming 6 patties. Refrigerate until ready to grill.

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

Brush the onion slices with olive oil and grill until lightly golden. About 2-3 minutes per side. Set aside.

Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium.

Cut the bun in half and brush cut sides with olive oil. Grill cut side down for a minute of two until lightly golden.

To assemble the burgers, place one grilled onion slice on each bun. Top with a freshly grilled burger, 2 bacon slices and a few sprigs of arugula. Spread the top bun with date relish and place on top. Enjoy.