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It Takes a Pear of Nuts Burger

Living in Oregon is a real treat. The ingredients that inspired this burger are ones that I pass by on a daily basis. The pear tree hanging full in my neighbor's yard, the hazelnut groves I pass on my daily commute and the local organic produce that is so readily available at the farmer's market. I love the combination of fruit and meat; to me this is the perfect summer burger that allows me to utilize native and local products. Many times over the last month (after deciding to enter my first cooking competition and having burgers for dinner every night) my fiance and I thought we must be crazy - as it turns out we are just a pair of nuts.


Hazelnut Spread
1/2 Cup toasted and finely chopped, organic Hazelnuts
1 Cup Light Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon GREY POUPON® Mild and Creamy Dijon Mustard
1/2 Teaspoon Horseradish
1/8 Cup chilled Sutter Home Pinot Noir Wine
Grilled Pears
1 cup chilled Sutter Home Pinot Noir Wine
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/8 Teaspoon freshly grated Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Real Vanilla Extract
3 firm organic Bosch pears
Patties 5 ounces Natural Style Teriyaki Beef Jerky
1 Cup chilled Sutter Home Pinot Noir Wine
¼ Cup fresh organic Thyme Leaves
1 6 Ounce jar of pureed organic Pear, found in the baby food section
1 Tablespoon GREY POUPON® Mild and Creamy Dijon Mustard
2 Pounds Ground Chuck
18 ¼ inch thick slices Smoked Fontina Cheese
Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
8 Ounces organic Micro Greens, divided into six equal portions
6 Kaiser Rolls split


Preheat a gas grill to medium. To Make the Hazelnut Spread In a food processor grind the Hazelnuts to a paste. In a medium bowl add hazelnut paste, mayonnaise, mustard, horseradish, and wine, mix until creamy. Cover and set aside. To Make the Grilled Pears In shallow dish add wine, salt, nutmeg, and vanilla. Mix well. Slice pears horizontally into ½ inch thick slices and core. Carefully add the pear slices to the dish and set aside. Marinate pears for at least 15 minutes, turning once at the half way mark. To Make the Patties In a food processor finely grate the jerky. In a large bowl combine jerky, wine, thyme, pear puree, and mustard. Mix well, cover and place in refrigerator to marinate for at least 15 minutes. Add the chuck. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 12 equal portions and form the portions into thin patties to fit the rolls. On each of the first six patties, place three slices of cheese. Take the other six patties and place one on top of each of the six patties with cheese. Seal together. Press your thumb gently into the center of each patty leaving a small indentation, this will fill in during cooking and keep the patties flat. When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with oil. Place the patties on the rack in the middle, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. At the same time the patties are placed on the grill, place the pear slices on the top rack of the grill and cook, turning once, until pear is soft. About 5 minutes on each side. During the final minutes of grilling the patties and pears, place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill rack to toast lightly. To Assemble the Burgers Spread a generous amount of the hazelnut spread over each roll bottom and top with two pear slices, patty, and micro greens. Add roll tops and serve. Makes 6 burgers


I try to use the freshest ingredients available to me. If you don't have access to a good farmers market, you can find organic products as most grocery stores. If you are unable to find organic products, use the freshest ingredients available to you.