Tanglewood Burger

Pairs well with:


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

I was inspired to create this burger after a summer trip to the Berkshire Mountains and the Boston Symphony Orchestras’s summer home at Tanglewood.Picnic blankets were spread out with wine, cheese, fruit, and other gourmet foods – all to be consumed as we listened to the delicate strains of Aaron Copland. I wanted to capture the feeling and flavors of that night in a hamburger – another summertime favorite. You’ll find the wine mixed in with the beef, the cheese spread on the bun, and the fruit in the dressing used to marinate the onion topping. It all combines to create a refreshing burger reminiscent of a New England symphonic evening.


1 large red onion, thinly sliced and separated
1 cup Raspberry Pomegranate Vinagrette by Cardini
12 tablespoons Alouette garlic and herb spreadable cheese
1 cup baby spinach, stems removed
6 ciabatta rolls
2 pounds 90% lean ground beef
3 teaspoons Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
6 tablespoons Merlot wine
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil


1. Thinly slice the red onion, separating the rings into individual pieces. Marinate the newly sliced onion in a covered tupperware container with 1 cup of Raspberry Pomegranate Vinagrette dressing. Set aside for 30 minutes.

While onions are marinating…
2. Remove garlic and herb cheese spread from refridgerator/cooler. Spread should come to room temperature before use.
3. Sort baby spinach, removing large leaves so that there are about 6 medium-sized leaves per ciabatta roll – enough to cover the top half of the cut roll.
4. Prepare ciabatta rolls by cutting each roll in half at the widest point of the roll. The flat side will be the base with the more rounded side the top. Using your fingers, scoop out the doughy inner protion of the top half only. This will form a dome to hold the toppings on the burger.

5. Pre-heat grill to medium.

6. In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, cook red onion and dressing mixture until tender-crisp, stirring frequently, about 5-7 minutes. Onions should be sweet, losing their pungent smell, but not mushy. Return cooked onions to covered tupperware and cool over ice.

For burgers…
7. Place ground beef in a large mixing bowl. Add Good Seasons dressing mix, Worchestershire sauce, Merlot, salt, and pepper. Using a large meatloaf fork, mix meat until liquid is incorporated and seasoning is evenly distributed.
8. Form beef mixture into 6 even patties, about one inch thick.

9. Prepare grill for burgers by brushing rack with olive oil soaked papertowel and increasing heat setting to high.

10. Place patties on grill rack, cover and cook about 2-3 minutes. Flip burgers and continue cooking until they reach preferred doneness.

11. White burgers are cooking, warm the ciabatta roll halves on the upper rack of the grill. Remove before they begin to toast or brown. Spread 2 tablespoons of garlic and herb spread onto each top half. Cover spread with a single layer of baby spinach. Set bottom half on tray, ready to receive burgers.

12. When burgers are cooked to preferred doneness remove from the grill and place directly onto the bottom half of the ciabatta roll. Add a generous potion of red onions to the top of the burger, using a fork to lift them out of any remaining liquid. Top burger with spinach and spreadable cheese prepper ciabatta tops. Serve hot.