Swedish Lingonberry Burgers with Pickled Cucumber and Onion Relish

Pairs well with:


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

My mother’s family, the Lingblooms, are from where the Lingonberries grow in Sweden.As such, various versions of Swedish meatballs have always graced our table. Here meatball meets burger topped with the side dish, pickled cucumber!


Pickled Cucumber and Onion Relish:

1 medium seedless cucumber, seedless

1/2 medium red onion

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup warm water

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

12 peppercorns, cracked with the back of a knife


3 pieces white bread, crust removed

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup red onion, finely minced, about one half medium

2 pounds ground beef

1/2 pound ground pork

1 egg

1/2 cup jarred lingonberry jam or fruit preserves (can substitute currant)

2 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground allspice

Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack

6 whole wheat hamburger buns

6 tablespoons cream cheese, softened

6 tablespoons jarred lingonberry jam or fruit preserves (can substitute currant)


To make relish, very thinly slice cucumbers and red onion using a mandolin or sharp knife. Put in a medium mixing bowl with dill. In a small mixing bowl whisk together the vinegar, sugar, salt and peppercorns until sugar dissolves. Pour over cucumber mixture. Cover and chill for at least one hour before serving.

Place bread slices in a small bowl. Pour milk over the top and set aside. To make the patties, combine the minced onion, ground beef, ground pork, egg, jam, 2 1/4 teaspoons salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper and allspice in a large mixing bowl. Squeeze excess milk from the bread and add it to the meat mixture in the bowl. Mix meat mixture together gently with your hand or a wooden spoon, handling the meat as little as possible. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form into patties, pressing a thumb in the center of each patty, leaving a slight indention. Set aside until ready to grill.

Heat the grill to medium-high. When the grill is ready, with a paper towel, rub the grill rack with vegetable oil to prevent sticking. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once until done, 4 to 5 minutes per side depending on desired degree of doneness. Do not press down on the patties. Remove the patties from the grill and place the buns, cut side down, on the rack to lightly toast.

To assemble the burgers, spread each bun bottom with a tablespoon of cream cheese. Top each with a patty and one tablespoon of jam. Lightly drain the pickled cucumber and onions and pile a handful or about 1/2 cup of the relish on the top of each patty. Place the toasted bun tops on top of the relish. Serve immediately.