Forget fancy burger joints like Melt. And definitely forget Five Guys and Habit.
This is the only burger you will ever need. Other burgers that you have eaten in the recent past will suddenly become inadequate.
And no, I’m not getting all Chris Traeger v. Ron Swanson on you. While this is a fancy burger, it’s still got beef as the main ingredient, and there’s nothing much healthy about it.
Every time I’ve made these, I can’t get over how delicious they are…. they combine so many of my favorite things. Basil? Mozzarella cheese? Pesto? Artichokes? Balsamic? All together on a burger? Stop. Just stop.
I’ve been doing recipes made for the grill, but this is one that you could easily do on your stove top and have similar, if not just as good, results. But, if you have a grill, use it while you can! While I have been known to make my husband go out and grill even when it’s snowing outside, it’s a tad easier to convince him in the summer.
Also, you gotta take advantage of fresh herbs while they are in season. And my basil plant is thriving right now. Let’s take a moment and appreciate my blooming basil plant. Oh, and my mint too.
Do yourself a favor and choose a nice red blend for this meal. We went with a wine we picked up at the Wine Kitchen the other day that they were featuring on their happy hour menu, the 2014 Carinena by Gran Ducay Castillo. It’s a Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tempranillo blend from Spain. Wines from Spain are generally a great value, and this has been one of our favorites. The smooth texture and jammy notes, similar to a Zinfadel, wound up pairing very well with the spread and balsamic on the burgers.
Start by preparing the burgers. To make two large burgers, you’ll need 3/4 lb ground beef (higher quality the better! I used 85% organic ground beef from Costco), red wine, salt & pepper, garlic, and basil. For the wine, I had a bottle of Gnarly Head that I was not fond of — so, I kept it around to use as a cooking wine. But any red will do.
Put all the ingredients into a bowl, including the chopped basil.
Mix all the ingredients together using your own two hands. I know it’s tempting to use a spoon, but it really does mix much better if you use your hands, and is less likely to get overmixed, causing the beef to become tough.
Form two patties with the beef and set aside. Then using your thumb, press an indent into the patties. This keeps the patties from being too thick in the middle. Set the patties aside.
Next, make the artichoke pesto spread. This is my favorite part of this burger. I always end up with some extra spread at the end, so I have saved it and used it as a dip, or as a sauce with some brown rice pasta. Lots of possibilities! To make the spread, you’ll need greek yogurt, artichokes hearts, and pesto. That’s it.
Slightly chop up the artichoke hearts. I used marinated ones from Trader Joes, but regular canned artichokes would work too.
Put the artichokes in a food processor along with the pesto and greek yogurt…
And blend it all together.
Spoon out the spread out of the processor and set it aside in a bowl until you are ready to use it.
Never said cooking was always pretty.
Go ahead and light the grill to medium-high heat. The burgers don’t take long to cook, so I like to have everything except the balsamic glaze ready to go before I put them on the grill.
After you’ve made the spread, go ahead and butter up some quality, good-sized buns. Set aside.
Remember, I didn’t say this was healthy.
Also, prepare the toppings. Slice up some fresh mozzarella, tomato, and get some basil leaves ready. I usually do 2 slices of mozzarella per burger, but depends on how cheesy you want it.
Time to go put those burgers on the grill! Place them on a medium-high heat grill. Grill one side for about 5-6 minutes, and then flip and grill the other side for about 3 minutes.
While the burgers begin to cook, start the balsamic glaze. It’s super easy. All you need is some balsamic and a small pan. Set heat to medium and pour 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar into the pan.
Let it cook and reduce down for about 7 – 8 minutes, stirring often, until it becomes syrupy. You don’t want to start this until you’re grilling the burgers because you want it to still be warm when you use it.
Meanwhile, place the mozzarella cheese on top of the burgers, and put the buns, butter side down on the grill, cover, and grill for about 2 more minutes.
Then, bring in those perfectly grilled burgers and buns to your kitchen.
To assemble the burgers, place the buns on a plate, and spoon a thick layer of that artichoke pesto spread you’ve been saving on the bottom half of the buns.
Then, put the burger, tomato, and basil leaves on top.
Finally, and certainly not least, get that pan with the balsamic glaze (it should be reduced to a few tablespoons and appear syrupy – try not to burn the side of the pan like I did).
And drizzle some over the top of the burger.
Oh. my. goodness.
Don’t be afraid of the pool of balsamic on your plate. It makes it that much better.
My hubby usually cuts his up with a fork and knife, but I like to just cut it in half and go for it. We’ve been married long enough that I don’t care about eating messy food in front of him. Either way, you’ll probably want a fork to tackle this so scoop back up anything that will inevitably fall out as you eat this.
Take your burger out to your tv watch a night of Maz Scherzer beating up the Mets.
Somehow, this burger tastes even better with a Nats win.