The Boston Black-and-Blue Burger

Pairs well with:


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

We live north of Boston, which, everyone knows is nothing if not a great sports town. This burger pays homage to all our fabulous, hard-playing, sports teams, especially our hard-hitting hockey team, the Bruins…thus the name The Boston Black-and-Blue!
It also showcases one of the stars of the Boston area’s food producers, Great Hill Dairy’s Blue Cheese. In the vernacular, this burger is wicked awesome!




1 pound ground sirloin (90% lean)
1 1/4 pounds ground chuck (80% lean)
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
1/3 cup salt-packed capers, rinsed well, patted dry and chopped ( may use brine-packed capers, also rinsed, dried and chopped)
2 tablespoons Sutter Home Zinfandel
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
sea salt
2 tablespoons freshly-cracked black pepper (coarse grind)

Ellen’s Black Jam

1 tablespoon Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large red onion, diced fine
1 cup finely chopped, dried black mission figs
1 small black plum, diced fine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon Sutter Home Zinfandel
water, a tablespoon at a time

Vegetable oil, for brushing the grill rack
6 ciabatta rolls, split (or ciabatta bread, sliced into six burger sized portions, split)
4 tablespoons melted butter, for brushing the cut surfaces of rolls
12 dark-green romaine lettuce leaves, each torn to slightly larger than roll size
6 healthy (1/3 to 1/2 inch thick) slices Great Hill Blue Cheese (or other sliceable blue cheese of choice)



For the patties, combine the ground sirloin, ground chuck, garlic, capers, parsley and Zinfandel in a large bowl and season with salt. Handling the meat lightly and with fingertips to avoid compacting it, gently incorporate the ingredients. Divide the mixture into six equal portions and flatten into six disks of equal thickness, each approximately four inches in diameter. Using 1 teaspoon of cracked pepper for each burger, press 1/2 teaspoon pepper into top and bottom of each patty (more or less to taste). Make a slight indentation into the center of each patty. Place patties on a plate, cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside.

For the Black Jam, put the oil, butter and onions into a 10 inch fireproof skillet. Cover with a lid and place skillet on grill rack. Open and stir occasionally until the onions begin to turn translucent and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the figs, plum, garlic, Worcestershire, vinegar, brown sugar and wine. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes more, adding a tablespoon of water as necessary, until the mixture reaches a jam-like consistency. Remove skillet from the grill and set aside.

When the grill is ready for the patties, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the six patties on the rack, cover and cook, turning once until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes for medium.

Meanwhile brush the cut sides of the rolls with melted butter. Place them cut sides down on the outer edges of the grill rack, and leave to toast for the last two minutes of grilling.

To assemble the burgers, spread the toasted roll bottoms generously with Black Jam, followed by two romaine leaves, one slightly juxtaposed on top of the other, a patty, and a slice of blue cheese. Add the roll tops and serve.

Makes six servings.