Texan Surprise Burgers

Pairs well with:

Pinot Grigio

You won’t need a bouquet of flowers when you share our Pinot Grigio. This crisp wine with floral aromas is a wonderful way to make an entrance.

When I moved to the Dallas area from the San Francisco area 17 years ago, I must admit I had become quite spoiled with all the extraordinary gourmet foods made and grown in California.It was a big surprise to find that Texas cuisine was more than a big bloody steak with a pile of beans on the side! The climate of the Texas Hill Country and Rio Grande Valley produce fruits and nuts, vegetables, herbs, meats and cheeses that rival California. Needless to say, I was very pleasantly surprised to find that, in terms of food, Texas has got it goin’ on! This burger is a tribute to all that is Texas gourmet. Surprise!!


2 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup pecan halves, halved lengthwise

2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 tablespoons Colavita Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

6 thick slices sweet onion

2 Granny Smith or Pink Lady apples, cored and each sliced in 6 slices

1 and 1/2 cup Sutter Home Pinot Grigio

1 and 1/ cup apple cider

1 and 1/2 cup chicken broth

2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

1 and 1/2 cup half and half

2 pounds 80/20 ground beef

1 tablespoon minced rosemary

2 tablespoons Montreal steak seasoning

1/4 cup finely minced onion

2 tablespoons Colavita Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

6 oz. Brie cheese, cut in a 1/4 inch dice

6 thick slices French bread


Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Heat butter in a grill-proof skillet until melted. Add pecans and saute 3 minutes. Add brown sugar and cayenne and cook until the sugar is completely melted, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer to a piece of wax paper in one layer and let cool. Break apart any pieces stuck together and set aside.

Combine 4 tablespoons olive oil, and pepper in a small bowl. Insert 1 or 2 toothpicks or skewers into the onion slices to keep each slice together. Brush the onion and apple slices on both sides with the olive oil and place on the grill. Grill the apples 3-4 minutes and the onion 10-12 minutes, turning and
basting occasionally. Transfer to a large piece of foil. Wrap and keep warm.

Combine wine, cider, chicken broth and 2 teaspoons rosemary in a grill-proof sauce pan and heat to boiling. Boil 10-12 minutes. Add half and half and cook another 2-3 minutes, or until thickened. Cover, set aside and keep warm.

To make the patties, gently mix together the ground beef, 1 tablespoon rosemary, steak seasoning, onion, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl. Form beef mixture into 12 equal patties on a large piece of wax paper (make them roughly the size of the bread). Sprinkle 1 oz. of the brie cubes and 2 tablespoons of the pecans on 6 of the patties. Top with remaining 6 patties pressing edges to seal well. Grill 4 minutes per side. In the last couple of minutes of grilling, toast the bread slices on both sides on the grill.

To assemble, drizzle 1/2 of the wine sauce on each toasted bread slice. Top each with a patty. After removing the toothpicks, add an onion slice to each patty, breaking up the rings to cover the entire patty if necessary. Add 2 apple slices to each burger and drizzle evenly with remaining sauce.

Makes 6 burgers.