Mo’s Better Blue Cheese Berry Burger
Home for me is the Pacific Northwest – Oregon. It is where I spend my summers with my parents and sister. The plane lands, I get my luggage, and there is my mom, waiting for me with her little bucket. “Fresh picked berries! We stopped on the roadside on the way here.” She has a separate refrigerator just for her berries. That sums it up. Every morning we walk along the Columbia and pick enough wild berries for the day, and eat enough for the week. So while I am there, we think of all the different ways we can use them. The burger I created is a mouthwatering, juicy, tangy, burger with a silky, succulent, sauce. The berries give each bite fresh taste of Oregon.
6 oz bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided (plus some for brushing the grill)
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press
1 1/2 cups Cabernet Sauvignon wine, plus 3 tablespoons
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup marionberry preserves or jam
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 fresh bay leaf
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup tomato paste with Italian seasonings
1 teaspoon, plus 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, divided
1/4 cup raspberry preserves or jam
2 cups arugula
1 cup fresh raspberries
2 1/2 lbs ground beef, 80%-20%
3/4 cup fresh black berries
6 oz blue cheese
6 brioche buns
Preheat the gas grill to high.
To make the sauce, start by cooking chopped bacon in a large, heavy, fireproof saucepan for 7-9 minutes, until cooked through (not too crispy). Remove bacon pieces and set aside on a paper towel lined plate. Discard the bacon drippings, leaving behind the bacon bits and just enough grease to coat the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to the same pan. Add the diced onions and saute for about 6-8 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes longer. Divide onion mixture in half, reserving half in a small bowl to mix in with the patties and cover loosely. Stir in the red wine and beef broth to the remaining onion mixture, scraping any bacon bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the marionberry preserves, 1 tablespoon parsley, thyme and bay leaf. Allow liquid to reduce, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes, until mixture is smooth and silky. When the wine sauce has reduced and thickened, stir in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and then the cream and let cook for 1-2 more minutes.
To make the raspberry catsup, in a small bowl, combine the tomato paste, 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, and raspberry preserves. Cover loosely and refrigerate until serving.
To make the garnish, in a medium-sized mixing bowl, toss arugula with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, and fresh raspberries. Refrigerate until serving.
To make the patties, handling the meat as little as possible, very gently mix with your hands the ground beef, cooked bacon pieces, reserved onion mixture, 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, 3 tablespoons of wine, and fresh blackberries and be sure not to over-mix. Form into 6 patties.
Brush the rack with oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. Turn only once. When patties have 2 minutes left on the grill, top them each with an equal portion of blue cheese. When patties are done, and cheese is melting, remove them from the heat and let rest for 3-5 minutes. Before assembling the burgers, lightly toast the brioche buns 1-2 minutes.
To assemble the burgers, spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the raspberry catsup, on the bottom half of the brioche buns, followed by the cheese-topped patties. Spoon a generous 2 spoonfuls of the wine reduction berry sauce over the burgers. Assemble a 1/4 cup mound of the arugula-raspberry garnish and top with the top half of the brioche bun.