WINE WITH…Burgers with Guacamole
On a warm summery evening our thoughts turn to burgers. That intoxicating smell of meat sizzling on the grill. The familiar sight of
jars and bottles of condiments lined up on the table. The splish-splash of sturdy red wine being poured into glasses. And that delicious instant when your teeth first sink into the lightly toasted bun…. These are some of the evocative routines associated with the hamburger ritual. But every now and then we’ll stray from the familiar gastronomic path. Forget the catsup and mayo--let’s mash up some avocado instead. Slices of tomato and sliced onions? No, we’ll combine the two into a simple fresh relish. And let’s replace those lettuce leaves with fresh cilantro.
Burgers With Guacamole
For four burgers
About 1 1/4 pounds ground beef
Salt and pepper
1 cup chopped cherry, grape or other small tomatoes
½ cup minced sweet onion such as Vidalia or Walla Walla
1 jalapeno pepper, finely minced
½ teaspoon chili powder (use ancho powder or commercial chili powder)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 hamburger buns, preferably brioche
4 slices cheddar cheese (optional)
1 cup cilantro leaves
Divide the beef into 4 sections and form each of them into a patty about ¾ inch thick. Do not overwork the meat. Salt and pepper the patties on each side then arrange them in a single layer on a tray or large plate and refrigerate until ready to cook.
In a medium bowl combine the chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapeno pepper and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper and reserve.
Peel and remove the pit from the avocado. Put the flesh in a bowl and add the lemon juice and olive oil. Mash the avocado coarsely. Add salt and pepper, mash it a little more, and taste for seasoning, adjusting accordingly.
Grill or pan fry the burgers, and toast the buns lightly on the grill or in a broiler or toaster oven. To serve, spread both the top and bottom buns with the avocado mix. Place a burger on the bottom half of each bun, top with a slice of cheese if using, and a generous spoonful of the tomato-onion relish. Sprinkle with cilantro leaves and top each burger with the other half of the bun.
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This is definitely a red wine meal, but not every red will perform well. Don’t go for light-bodied ones, but at the same time don’t opt for wines with overtly astringent tannins. Instead, look for fruit-forward wines with seductively soft textures that taste rich and ripe. And don’t worry about alcohol levels. These burgers are sufficiently robust to tame heady wines.