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Pecan Crusted Goat Cheese Burger with Jalapeno Cranberry Sauce

This burger is a surprisingly delightful taste combination. I never would have imagined a pecan crusted burger with raisins and goat cheese to be anything more than weird, but it works - especially with the jalapeno cranberry sauce. And it seems to work with the most picky and underexposed of taste buds - many who tried were lifelong raisin haters (my husband, for one). No one could take just one bite. My origianl idea for a name was "The Everything Nice Burger," as a play on "sugar and spice makes everything nice." I still think that is a fun name, but opted for the descriptive name to make sure it got recognized for all it's interesting ingredients. In and of itself, this has been a terrific experience - in learning how to think outside the box, in trying new taste combinations, and in getting great use out of a grill received as a wedding gift. Thank you for this opportunity!


Grape leaf wrapped goat cheese balls
3 oz. of pure goat’s milk cheese
30 grape leaves (jarred grape leaves)
Jalapeno Cranberry Sauce
16 oz. whole berry cranberry sauce
4 jalapenos, minced
3 fresh garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 3/4 pounds of ground chuck
2/3 cup of raisins
2 teaspoons of kosher salt
3 jalapenos, minced
1 medium egg
2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh, finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh, finely chopped
sweet basil leaves from 8 medium sprigs of fresh thyme
Pecan Crust
8 oz finely chopped pecans
2 cups yellow cornmeal
3 eggs, whisked
Vegetable oil, for brushing on grill rack
6 sourdough rolls, split
2 oz goat cheese


Directions To make grape leaf wrapped, goat cheese balls: Roll a small amount of goat cheese into a chickpea sized ball. To wrap, tear grape leaf into domino sized piece and wrap goat cheese to encase cheese. Make 54 balls. Set in refrigerator until needed. To make jalapeno cranberry sauce: Combine jalapenos, garlic, cranberry sauce, salt, and lime juice in food processor. Mix well. Refrigerate until needed. To make patties: Combine beef, raisins, salt, jalapenos, egg, garlic, cilantro, thyme and basil in bowl. Please mix gently, as to not compact meat, however, mix for evenly distributed ingredients. Divide beef into six equal portions, without making patties. To make a patty, divide a portion in half and place in palm of hand (place other half aside). Evenly distribute 9 grape leaf wrapped, goat cheese balls into beef in hand. Take the remaining half portion of beef and place on top of beef in hand. Mold into patty to match the size of sourdough roll. Repeat for all six patties. To pecan crust patties: Place corn meal in a shallow, medium sized bowl. Whisk eggs together until well blended in a second shallow, medium sized bowl. Place finely chopped pecans in a third shallow, medium sized bowl. First, dip patty into corn meal, fully coating patty; shake off any excess. Second, dip into egg, fully coating patty. Lastly, dip and cover patty completely in pecans. To grill: Prepare grill to medium heat. When grill is ready, brush grill rack with vegetable oil for minimal sticking. Place patties on grill rack. Allow five minutes cooking time on one side before turning, or until bottom side is lightly browned. Turn approximately every four to five minutes for approximately 25 minutes for medium rare burgers. Allow 5 minutes more for medium and 10 minutes more for medium well. The pecan crust should be nicely browned upon completion. The last few minutes of grilling, place rolls, cut side down, on outer edge of grill rack until lightly toasted. To assemble burgers: Spread jalapeno cranberry sauce on cut side of bottom half of rolls. Place patties on bottom half of rolls. Lightly spread goat cheese over entire top side of each patty. Add generous amount of jalapeno cranberry sauce on top of goat cheese. Add roll tops and serve.


In trying many recipes with cheese added to the beef, I was continuously disappointed with the results. The cheese always dissipated into the burger. I wanted cheese bites inside the burger - splashes of flavor. This is the reason for wrapping the cheese in grape leaves. It's well worth it! My only concern in wrapping the goat cheese is in making sure the cheese is completely encased. They don't need to be perfect, just secure. When making the patties, it is only important that every patty is allotted enough cheese balls. This technique allows control over the number of balls per patty, and also helps keep the balls intact. The technique is actually very simple and quick. Due to the delicate nature of a burger that is pecan crusted, it is best to use your own judgement regarding the individual cooking time. In general, a firm burger with juices that run clear will be done within reason. I found the best tasting burger in one that was medium rare.