Elyssa Darling’s Wine and Cheese Burgers with Smoky Prosciutto, Caramelized Onions and Fig Spread

Pairs well with:

Cabernet Sauvignon

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


2 lbs. Ground Sirloin (80% – 85% lean)
1/3 cups Sutter Home Cabernet wine
1 ½ tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp. Garlic Powder
9 tbsp. Blue Cheese good quality
1 large yellow onion
6 oz. Prosciutto
2 tbsp. Olive Oil, plus additional for greasing grill rack
2 tbsp. Butter, plus 6 tsp. for rolls
Sea Salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
3 fresh sprigs of Thyme
6 Ciabatta Rolls
6 tbsp. Fig Spread
6 tsp. Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard
One bunch Watercress, washed



Lightly break up ground sirloin in a bowl. Add wine, Worcestershire Sauce, and garlic powder. Marinate for one and a half hours in the fridge. Next, roll the blue cheese into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and put in freezer to harden, about one and a half hours. Slice the onion in half and then into half-moons. Set aside. Chop prosciutto into ½ inch pieces. If there are any larger bits, they can be torn by hand into bite-sized pieces. Place a nonstick, fire-proof skillet on the grill where it will sit over medium heat. Add the olive oil to the skillet. Once the skillet is warm, add the prosciutto and render out the fat. Cook until slightly crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Remove to a plate covered with a paper towel and reserve. To the same skillet, still over medium heat, add two tablespoons of butter. Then add the sliced onions. Make sure the onions are coated in the butter and season with about 6 turns of the salt grinder and about 10 turns of the pepper grinder. Let caramelize, stirring occasionally—about 15-20 minutes. About halfway through the cooking process, add the leaves of the thyme sprigs. When caramelized, remove skillet from heat. Mix onions and the reserved prosciutto in a bowl. Set aside. Raise heat on grill to medium high. Brush grill with olive oil. At this time, remove ground sirloin from fridge and blue cheese from freezer. Cut blue cheese into 6 equal portions. Add 1 grind of salt and 2 grinds pepper to beef. Mix gently with a fork. To form the patties, divide the beef mixture into 6 equal portions. Take the first portion and divide it in two. With one half, form a patty, about ½ inches to ¾ inches thick. On top of the formed patty, in the center, place a blue cheese medallion. Place remaining half of the meat over the first half to cover the blue cheese. Crimp the edges, making sure to form a seal (so the blue cheese does not melt out when grilled). Repeat the patty-forming steps with the remaining 5 portions. Sprinkle top of each burger with a pinch of salt and pepper. Place the burgers on the grill rack and cover. Grill for 5 minutes, then flip, grilling for 4 minutes. Flip again, grilling for 3 minutes. Flip one more time, grilling for 2 minutes. The continuous flipping will ensure that the blue cheese warms and softens evenly. Burgers will be cooked to medium doneness. While burgers are grilling, split rolls in half, and toast, cut side down, on the grill to golden brown. Once toasted, spread the inside of the top bun with a layer of butter (about 1 tsp). Then, over the butter, spread 1 tbsp. of fig spread. Spread the inside of the bottom bun lightly with mustard (about 1 tsp). To assemble, place the bottom bun on a plate. Place burger on bottom roll. Top with the caramelized onion/prosciutto mixture. Then top with 5 or 6 watercress leaves. Cover with top roll. Your Wine and Cheese Burgers are done. Enjoy! Serves 6