Maytag Peppercorn Burgers with Wine Poached Pears and spicy Bacon-Walnut Caramelized Onions
The starting point for these burgers was the wine poached pears. I really wanted to combine the sweet flavors of the pears with the savory flavors of the wine, beef and onions which turned out to be a delicious combination.
Wine poached pears:
1 1/2 cups Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 peeled bosc pears
Spicy Bacon-Walnut Caramelized Onions:
3 slices thick cut Applewood Smoked bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 Vidalia onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (lightly toasted in foil on the grill)
4 ounces Boursin Peppercorn cheese, softened
4 ounces Maytag Blue Cheese
2 1/2 pounds freshly ground beef chuck
2 tablespoon Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt (plus additional as needed)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 Sesame seed topped Bulkie rolls (preferably Whole Foods bakery), split
1 cup mixed mesclun greens
Preheat a gas grill to medium high flame.
To prepare the pears, in a medium sized fire-safe saucepan, bring the wine, lemon juice, lemon zest cinnamon, vanilla and brown sugar to a simmer over medium high heat on the gas grill.
Add the pears and cook in a closed grill for 10-15 minutes. Open the cover occasionally and spoon the liquid over the pears until they are tender. Using a large slotted spoon transfer the pears to a cutting board and carve into thin slices and return to the poaching liquid; cover loosely with Reynolds Wrap until ready to use.
For the onions, cook the bacon just until crispy over the grill in a 10-inch fire-safe skillet. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. (Leave the bacon fat in the pan)
Add the onions to the pan used for the bacon. Stir in the brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, salt and cayenne pepper; cook over medium high heat on the grill until the onions are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the grill and stir in the bacon and the walnuts then cover loosely with foil until ready to use.
In a small food processor, combine the two cheese; process just until combined; set aside.
In a large bowl combine the ground beef, bread crumbs, olive oil, salt and pepper using a wooden spoon. form the mixture into six equal sized patties. Lightly brush the grill rack with oil. Arrange the patties on the grill and cook 4-5 minutes per side for medium rare doneness or continue cooking until desired doneness. during the last 2 minutes of grilling arrange the rolls split side down on the grill to lightly toast.
Transfer patties and rolls to a work surface. Spoon a generous portion of the cheese on each patty. To assemble the burgers, arrange greens on the bottom half of each roll, top with the onions, evenly dividing. Arrange a patty cheese side up on the onions. Remove the pears from the poaching liquid and fan pear slices over the cheese on each. Top with the remaining roll halves and serve immediately.