Savory Mediterranean -Style Stuffed Grape Leaf Burgers

Pairs well with:


Bright and full-bodied, this Zinfandel wine is a curious contradiction in tastes.


1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and minced
2 cups plain yogurt
3 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup pitted,chopped Kalamata olives
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 chicken bouillon cube, crushed
1/2 cup of hottest tap water
1/2 cup instant brown rice
1 tablespoon Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 peeled, crushed garlic cloves
1/2 small white onion, chopped
1 tablespoon allspice
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
Juice 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 pound ground chuck, brought to room temperature
One jar of brine preserved California Grape Leaves
Vegetable oil, for brushing grill rack
Six whole wheat pita breads, cut horizontally, both sides brushed with Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil.



DIRECTIONS: Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. To make Mediterranean Toppers,in a small bowl combine cucumber, yogurt, dill, garlic and lemon juice. Refrigerate. Combine Kalamata olives and crumbled feta and set aside. To make patties, combine in a small bowl the crushed bouillon cube with hot tap water and stir until almost dissolved. Stir in rice and cover with tin foil. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix olive oil, garlic cloves, onion, allspice, dill, and lemon juice. When almost all of the water has been absorbed into the rice (rice will be al dente) stir into the large bowl. Mix thoroughly. Gently mix in ground chuck until completely combined. Divide patty mixture to create six patties approximately 4 1/2 inches in diameter and 3/4 inch thick. Next, lightly rinse the grape leaves under running water. Select 12 large intact leaves. Take each patty and wrap a leaf around both the bottom and top so that it is entirely encased by leaves. Carefully press the leaves into the patty to help it adhere. Brush grill rack with oil. Divide pita bread into halves and brush with olive oil. Place patties on grill carefully, with the side where the grape leaf edge is exposed facing down. Place meat thermometer in one patty and cover grill. Cook for approximately six minutes (to about 118 degrees) and then turn, being careful not to tear grape leaves. Continue grilling until temperature reaches 160, about another three minutes. During these last few minutes, place the pita breads on the grill to warm on both sides. By the time the last one is layed the first is ready to be turned. Be watchful to warm instead of toast. Remove from grill and place on assembly platter, cut sides up. Take yogurt topper out of refrigerator and pour into sieve to drain off any excess juice and to thicken. Let it sit a minute and then return to bowl. Discard excess juice. To assemble burgers, spread the cut sides of each pita bread with the yogurt topping. Place the patty on the pita and add an additional dollop of yogurt on top of the patty. Place a generous tablespoon of the olive and feta mixture on top and cover with the other pita half. Serve immediately and enjoy.