Four Pepper Portabella Burgers with Habanero Spread, Rai-Zin Sauce, and Tossed Baby Greens


½ cup raisins
1/8 cup brown sugar
¾ cup Sutter Home White Zinfandel
8 ounces cream cheese, softened, cut into cubes
2 habanero peppers, seeded, finely chopped
4 large Fresno peppers, seeded, finely chopped, 2 peppers for spread, 2 peppers for patties
2 cups chopped mixed baby greens
1 cup chopped tomatoes
¾ cup finely chopped yellow bell pepper, ¼ cup for salad, ½ cup for patties
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, ½ teaspoon for baby greens, 2 teaspoons for patties
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, ¼ teaspoon for baby greens, ¾ teaspoon for patties
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1 cup chopped portabella mushroom
2 pounds fresh ground chuck
Vegetable oil, for brushing the grill rack
6 Kaiser rolls, split
6 slices pepper jack cheese



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

To make the Rai-Zin sauce, combine the raisins and brown sugar in a 3-cup food chopper. Chop on high until raisins are finely chopped. Transfer the raisin mixture to a 2 quart fire-proof saucepan, add White Zinfandel, stir gently to combine, cover, and place on the grill rack. Cook the raisin mixture for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until the wine has reduced and the mixture has thickened. Transfer the raisin mixture to a 1 ½ quart bowl. Cover with a paper towel (to avoid condensation during cooling), and refrigerate. While the raisin mixture is cooling, prepare the habanero spread. Half of the habanero spread will be added to the raisin mixture to complete the Rai-Zin sauce.

To make the habanero spread, combine the cream cheese, habanero peppers, and 2 of the Fresno peppers, in a blender, set aside remaining 2 Fresno peppers for later use. Blend on high until the mixture becomes smooth. Transfer half of the habanero spread to a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until serving. To complete the Rai-Zin sauce, add the remaining habanero spread to the raisin mixture, stir until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

To make the tossed baby greens, combine the mixed baby greens, tomatoes, and ¼ cup of the yellow bell pepper, in a large bowl, set aside remaining ½ cup of the bell pepper for later use. Add ½ teaspoon salt, set aside remaining 2 teaspoons of salt for later use. Add ¼ teaspoon ground pepper, set aside remaining ¾ teaspoon of ground pepper for later use. Toss lightly to combine. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

To make the patties, combine the 2 Fresno peppers, ½ cup yellow bell pepper, and chives in a 3-cup food chopper and chop on high until minced. Add the mushrooms and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the ground chuck, 2 teaspoons of salt, and ¾ teaspoon of ground pepper. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the rolls. Make a slight dimple in the center of each patty (this will prevent it from puffing up while it cooks).

When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium.During the last few minutes of cooking the patties carefully place the rolls cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly. During the last minute of cooking the patties top each patty with a slice of cheese to melt.

To assemble the burgers, spread a layer of the habanero spread over the cut sides of roll tops. On the cut side of the roll bottoms, spread a layer of the Rai-Zin sauce and then top with a ½ cup of tossed baby greens, and a patty. Add the roll tops and serve.

Makes 6 Burgers