The Ploughman’s Patty

Pairs well with:


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

Until I moved to England, I had never heard of a Ploughman’s. It does not sound like something you would eat, but I soon learned what it meant. A Ploughman’s is a platter with hunks of British cheeses like Cheddar and Stilton with a combination of pickles, relish, chutney, raw fruit and vegetables and other somewhat random additions served with crusty bread. While a Ploughman’s is always on offer at a proper British pub, you never know exactly what you will get. The discovery of new food and culture and the unexpected mish mash of a Ploughman’s inspired my burger.


½ cup red onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, minced
4 gherkins, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds ground chuck

Red Wine, Onion and Fig Marmalade
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups, red onions, sliced thinly
¼ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup Sutter Home Zinfandel
¼ cup dried figs, chopped

Apple, Tomato and Ginger Chutney
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup shallots, chopped
1-½ cup tomatoes, chopped
½ cup apples, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Vegetable oil for brushing the grill rack
3/4 pound sharp cheddar cheese, sliced
12 slices crusty country bread
1 cup arugula


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make the patties, in a bowl mix the red onion, garlic, gherkins, salt and pepper with the ground chuck. Shape into 6 patties, cover and set aside.

To make the red wine, onion and fig marmalade, heat the oil in a flameproof sauté pan. Add the red onions and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions have started to caramelize. Lower the heat as necessary to make sure the onions do not burn. Add the brown sugar, salt, pepper, Zinfandel, and figs and cook until the liquid has reduced and the mixture has thickened, approximately 5-7 minutes.

To make the apple, tomato and ginger chutney, heat the oil in a flameproof skillet. Add the shallots, tomatoes, apples and garlic and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the cider vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, salt and pepper and cook for another 3 minutes until the liquid has reduced.

Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover and cook, turning once, 3-5 minutes per side or until done to preference. During the last 3 minutes of grilling, melt a slice of cheese on each burger.

To assemble the burgers, spread the red wine onion and fig marmalade on 6 slices of bread followed by equal portions of the arugula, the patties with melted cheese, equal portions of the apple, tomato and ginger chutney and the remaining slices of bread.