Cherry Cabernet Cheeseburgers

I don’t know what I was thinking trying to make this gourmet burger on a weeknight. But I was determined to make and eat these burgers with our handpicked cherries.

Wednesday was going to be the day I upped our weeknight dinner game with these burgers. As if the children knew it, they simultaneously took a two hour nap. I took full advantage and made the cherry chutney and the caramelized onions. While washing the never ending supply of dirty dishes.

An hour or so before I wanted to have dinner served I started working on the wine reduction for the burger patties. And cooked the bacon. At that point all cooperation was out the window. Treat has taken to being intensely clingy and fussy around 5 o’clock making it difficult to do anything that can’t be done with one hand. Good thing pouring wine in a saucepan over a flame doesn’t require much skill. I kept a watchful eye on the wine but it went from “not quite” to “burnt and sticky” in the blink of peeling an orange.

I had to step away from the stove to recollect myself, wipe Firecracker’s sticky orange hands, and change a couple of diapers. It was now too late to get dinner on the table in time to ensure the new earlier bedtime for the boys. So, we ordered pizza. I would try again tomorrow.

Thursday rolls around and I thought I’d be able to make the reduction and form the burger patties during nap time. Too bad nap time didn’t happen! After fighting with them for an hour I gave up. Very surprisingly Firecracker took his grounding from the TV the rest of the day quite well and pulled every single toy out of his cabinet. Around 4:30 Treat caved in and took an hour nap. During that nap I strapped Firecracker into his seat at the table with some crackers and his laptop. Mission accomplished! image3

The resulting burger was worth the two day wait! That cherry chutney provides the perfect sweetness to a well balanced burger. And I’ll eat almost anything with caramelized onions on top of it. Smoked Gouda cheese rounded out the burger with its savory bite.

I set aside some of the meat mixture before adding in the wine for the boys. Both boys quite enjoyed their burger patties! Granted, it took me telling Firecracker that there was bacon in it for him to take a bite. His dinner plate was a “deconstructed” cheeseburger: a slice of smoked gouda, a little bread, and his burger patty. Treat was given just the patty followed up with green beans.

Cherry Cabernet Cheeseburgers

Ingredients for the chutney:

  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar, divided use
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 C fresh cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced
  • 1/4 C Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1/2 tsp chopped crystallized ginger
  • pinch cardamom

Ingredients for the onions:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Ingredients for the burger:

  • 1 C Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 6 strips bacon, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 slices smoked Gouda
  • 4 buns
  • spinach

Steps:

  1. Make the chutney: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Whisk together 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, honey, and olive oil. Season with S+P. Add the cherries and peppers, toss to coat. Place on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast 14 minutes, stirring halfway. Transfer cherries to a medium saucepan and add remaining balsamic vinegar, wine, ginger and cardamom. Simmer 10 minutes until thickened. Allow to cool.
  2. Make the onions: Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and red wine vinegar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and golden. Add more butter or olive oil as needed. Season with S+P to taste. Set aside.
  3. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat. Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
  4. Combine wine and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer and let reduce to 1/4 C. Allow reduction to cool.
  5. Form burgers: Combine ground beef, bacon, Worcestershire, and S+P. Mix in the wine reduction. Form into 4 equal sized patties.
  6. Cook burgers in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook about 4 minutes on each side, or to desired temperature. Top each patty with cheese and cook until melted.
  7. Assemble burgers: Place spinach on the bottom bun, top with the cheeseburger, chutney, and caramelized onions.

*This recipe is adapted from Erin at http://thecrumbycupcake.com/cherry-cabernet-burger/*

Cherry Cabernet Cheeseburger  Sew You Think You Can Cook

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Brussels Sprout Salad with Caramelized Onions

Over Memorial Weekend we went to D.C. to go visit Tara (of Tara’s Multicultural Table) and her family. There will be more on that trip tomorrow, so stay tuned! On Sunday, we went to a Farmer’s Market. We were so happy to have decided to drive so we could actually buy produce to take home with us the next day!

Dale City Farmer's Market

We took home two cartons of big, beautiful Brussels sprouts, a bunch of red beets, cinnamon peanut butter from Sprelly, sweet potato pasta from Gypsy Hill, and some local honey.

I’ve used the peanut butter in a popcorn recipe that you’ll see in July. I’ve used one beet to make some sweet potato beet baby food and another for a beet potato salad, I’m not sure yet when I’ll share that latter recipe with you. The honey is about to be opened (I just emptied what we had already) and I’m still deciding what to do to highlight the fresh pasta. The Brussels sprouts are showcased in today’s recipe.

I had planned on making this Brussels sprout salad a few days after we got back from our trip but a night of feeling ill postponed the dinner plans for when our family was here for the little man’s baptism. With 5 extra people who also enjoy Brussels sprouts I had to expand my supply with a bag from the grocery store. Separating the leaves of the sprouts to create the “lettuce” for the salad is tedious work, the large Brussels sprouts from the Farmer’s Market were very much appreciated! As was the help I recruited from the moms.

This salad does take some time to make, but it can easily be done in stages. And it is absolutely worth it! We’ve never had Brussels sprouts raw before and tossed in a salad with warm caramelized onions and tart dried cherries is a fresh way to enjoy this vegetable in the spring and summer.

This salad makes 8 servings. I paired it with grilled pork chops and mashed potatoes.

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Caramelized Onions

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2/3 C plus 4 tbsp olive oil, divided use
  • 4 Vidalia onions, sliced
  • 4 tsp brown sugar, divided use
  • 2 lb Brussels sprouts, leaves removed
  • 2 tbsp dried cherries (or more, to taste)
  • 1/2 C apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp agave
  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard

Steps:

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat melt butter and 4 tbsp olive oil. Add sliced onions and caramelize for 1 hr. In last few minutes stir in 2 tsp brown sugar and a little bit of salt. (You could also do this in the slow cooker.) Set aside.
  2. Make dressing: Whisk together vinegar, 2 tsp brown sugar, agave, mustard, and 2/3 C olive oil. Season to taste with S+P.
  3. Place Brussels sprout leaves in a microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave about 1 minute. Note: This will not cook the sprouts but will warm them slightly. 
  4. Toss warmed Brussels sprouts with dried cherries, caramelized onions, and dressing.

*This recipe is modified from Susan at http://thewimpyvegetarian.com/2014/11/warm-brussels-sprouts-salad-with-caramelized-onions/*

Brussels Sprout Salad | Sew You Think You Can Cook

French Onion Soup

While in Hawaii Stuart had the idea for me to recreate the foods we ate for my blog. Our favorite meal of the trip was at a little French restaurant in downtown Hilo. I haven’t attempted making crepes yet, but I do know how to make French Onion Soup.

I made this recipe back in 2011 after finding it on Kelsey’s Essentials on Cooking Channel. I altered the recipe slightly this go-around to utilize Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions, adjusted the liquid amounts for a desired consistency, and added more cheese.

French Onion Soup

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb onions, sliced and caramelized – less 1 C
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 C white wine
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 4 C beef broth
  • 2 1/2 C chicken broth
  • 4 rolls bakery bread, cubed
  • 1/2 lb swiss cheese, shredded

Steps:

  1. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a large pot. Add the caramelized onions, season with thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for five minutes.
  2. Stir in the flour, mixing well. Pour in white wine and bring to a boil for five minutes. Season again with S+P.
  3. Add in both broths and bring to a simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the broiler. Ladle soup into individual ramekins. Top each ramekin with cubed bread and cover with shredded cheese. Broil for about 4 minutes until cheese begins to brown.

French Onion Soup

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions

Caramelized onions can take a sandwich to the next level, but you don’t always want to spend the time making caramelized onions just for a grilled cheese! I stumbled upon this fantastic idea to make caramelized onions in the slow cooker! It’s definitely one of those, “Why didn’t I think of that?” moments. Sure, it definitely takes longer but it’s so much easier and all the prep-work is done whenever you do want caramelized onions because you can freeze them too!

sliced onionsI actually cut my onions the night before, put them in a container which I then wrapped in plastic wrap and double bagged to keep the onion smell from permeating my entire refrigerator overnight. (No one wants to go to the office smelling like raw onion.) So in the morning all I had to do was dump my 3 lbs of onions into the crock pot with 3 tbsp of butter!

If you aren’t already hungry when you get home (I always am!), the smell of caramelized onions wafting over you as soon as you open the door will make you anxious to use them immediately! I used the onions for French Onion Soup – taking 30 minute off of my active cooking time. We also served them with burgers.

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb yellow onions
  • 3 tbsp butter, cubed

Steps:

  1. Using a sharp knife, slice onions thinly.
  2. Lightly spray inside of slow cooker with non stick cooking spray. Dump in onions and butter. Spritz top of onions with another hit of cooking spray.
  3. Cover and cook on high for 10 1/2 hours.

*This recipe is modified from Dorothy at http://www.shockinglydelicious.com/crock-pot-caramelized-onions-slow-and-steady-does-the-trick/*

Caramelized Onions