North African Lamb Burgers with Cumin-Grilled Onions and Cinnamon Aioli

Pairs well with:

Sauvignon Blanc

With hints of passion fruit, melon, and citrus, this wine beckons you to kick back and find a perfect porch swing.


1/2 cup snipped dried apricots
1/2 cup Sutter Home Pinot Grigio
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Cinnamon Aioli:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup unsalted cashews
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cumin-Grilled Onions:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 white onions, peeled and sliced into rounds (about three cups)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cumin
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Vegetable oil, to coat the grill
7-ounce block sheep’s milk feta cheese, cut into 12 lengths
6 honey-whole wheat hamburger roll
6 bun-sized romaine lettuce leaves



Place the snipped dried apricots in a small mixing bowl and pour in the Sutter Home Pinot Grigio. Stir, cover, and macerate for 20 minutes. Drain well before mixing into the lamb.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix the soaked, drained apricots with the lamb, olives, salt, white pepper, and red pepper flakes. Divide the meat into six portions and form into patties. Place the patties on a tray, cover, and refrigerate until you are ready to grill.

To prepare the aioli, place the mayonnaise, cashews, lemon juice, olive oil, and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse several times, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until the mixture is fairly smooth. Scoop the aioli into a small bowl and refrigerate until assembly.

To prepare onions, heat a gas grill to medium high heat. Pull out two rectangles of heavy duty aluminum foil and form a slight cup in the base of one. Pour one tablespoon of olive oil in the depression, and top with the sliced onions, salt, cumin, and the melted butter. Place the other piece of foil on top and seal the edges. Grill the foil packet for about ten minutes on each side, or until the onions are soft and beginning to brown.

Brush the grill with vegetable oil to coat and place the burgers on the grill. Grill 5-7 minutes per side, turning once, or until medium. After you flip the burgers, top each one with two of the slices of feta cheese. Remove the cooked burgers from the grill to rest for a few minutes, and lightly toast the buns as the burgers rest.

To assemble, spread some of the aioli on the burger bun tops, and place a burger on each of the bun bottoms. Top each burger with some of the grilled onions, a lettuce leaf, and the dressed bun top. Use sandwich toothpicks to secure, then cut in half and serve.