Local Springtime Bounty Burgers

Pairs well with:

White Merlot

Imagine sipping a lighter Merlot. This fresh, pale-pink wine is a nice change from traditional red or white wines.

I love shopping locally and seasonally for our produce.Rochester’s very fortunate to have an incredible Public Market with vendors offering locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, in addition to local and imported specialty meats and cheeses. After long, often grueling winters here in Rochester, I look forward to the spring harvest and to cleaning up the grill for the outdoor cooking season! This burger is a great local American burger because it features the arrival of two of my favorite spring vegetables – fennel and onions – grown locally and purchased at the historic Rochester Public Market.


2 pounds ground chuck
1/2 cup shredded fresh fennel
3 tablespoons Sutter Home White Merlot
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon coarsely ground fennel seed
1 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

Onion-Merlot Marmalade:
3 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 pounds thinly sliced sweet onion (approximately 2 large)
1 pound thinly sliced red onion (approximately 1 large)
2/3 cup Sutter Home White Merlot
1 teaspoons balsamic fig vinegar (like Flora brand)

Vegetable oil, for brushing the grill rack
12 slices Premium Canadian-Style Bacon (like Hormel brand)
6 – 3/4 ounce slices New York state sharp cheddar cheese
6 split Kaiser rolls, with a slightly chewy bite to the crust
6 tablespoons Peppadew Mustard (like Silver Spring brand)


– Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
– To make the patties, spread the chuck out in a large shallow pan. Sprinkle evenly with fennel, wine, garlic, thyme, fennel seed, pepper and salt. 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. Refrigerate until ready to grill.
– To make the Onion-Merlot Marmalade, when the grill is ready heat olive oil in a large non-stick saute pan on the grill rack. Saute onions for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and caramelized. Add wine and vinegar and stir until fully absorbed. Remove from grill rack and keep warm.
– To cook the Canadian bacon, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place bacon slices on the grill rack and cook until the meat is lightly browned on the bottom, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn slices and cook until meat is lightly browned on the bottom, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove bacon from grill and keep warm. Scrape grill rack as necessary.
– To cook the patties, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill rack, cover and cook until browned on the bottom, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the patties and cook until done to preference, 3 to 4 minutes longer for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking, place cheese slices on patties to melt slightly and place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.
– To assemble the burgers, spread 1 tablespoon of mustard on the cut side of the roll tops. Place an equal portion of onion marmalade on the roll bottoms followed by a cheese topped patty and two slices of bacon. Add the roll tops and serve. Makes 6 burgers.