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Apple Of My Eye Burgers

As much as I like summers here in New Hampshire, I love the fall season much more. I savor the smells and the sights that fall bring to New England. I enjoy hiking most when the leaves are changing colors, finding my way through a corn maze and apple picking with my children.

When I was young, my family camped in the White Mountain Region of NH and every Columbus Day Weekend brought the official end to our camping season along with an apple picking adventure with all my brothers. We would pick (rather pick up the 'drops') as many as 6 or 7 bushels to bring home. Most of which ended in applesauce, apple crisp and my favorite, my mom's apple pie.

A New England favorite is to top hot apple pie with a slice of cheddar cheese. This is the inspiration for my Apple Of My Eye Burger.


Cole Slaw:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1/2 Tbsp ground celery seed
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
3 cups chopped green and purple cabbage
2 carrots peeled and chopped

Apple Butter Sauce:
1 cup apple butter
1/4 cup Sutter Home Chardonnay

2 small Macintosh apples cored, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup fresh, flat leaf parsley
1 1/2 tsp fresh sage
2 gloves garlic
2 shallots
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp freshly ground sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds freshly ground chuck

6 thinly cut slices of pancetta
6 slices of a good quality sharp cheddar cheese
Vegetable Oil, for brushing the grill rack
6 roasted garlic ciabatta rolls, split


Preheat gas grill to medium high.

Coleslaw: Mix mayonnaise, sugar, milk and celery seed. Add cider vinegar and whisk until smooth. Add chopped cabbage with peeled and chopped carrots. Mix well and refrigerate until serving.

Apple Butter Sauce: Place large size cast iron fry pan (or fireproof skillet) on top of grill rack. Combine apple butter with wine. Stir occasionally until mixture is heated through. Remove pan from the grill and set aside while you prepare patty mixture.

Patties: To make patties, place quartered apples into food processor along with parsley, sage, garlic, shallots and allspice, mix well. Remove mixture to a bowl and combine with the beef, salt and pepper. Handle the beef as little as possible. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form into patties. While forming your patties, bear in mind the shape of your bread. I buy Ciabatta Rolls that are rectangle in shape.

Brush the preheated grill with oil. Place patties on the rack, close cover and cook for about 4 minutes. Turn patties (only once) brush apple butter mixture onto each patty, place one slice of pancetta onto each burger and continue cooking for about another minute then add cheese slices on the patties and continue cooking for about 2 minutes. At which time place the rolls, cut side down on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly, (toasting should take about 2 minutes). When patties are done, (internal temperature just about 160 degrees) remove to large skillet with remaining apple butter mixture and cover to keep warm as meat settles.

To assemble burgers, place a patty onto the bottom toasted roll, spread a generous amount of coleslaw over the top side of the toasted roll, add top roll and serve.


Macintosh apples are native to the northeast and may not be available everywhere. One large Granny Smith would be a good alternative and are available country wide.