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Pinot Peppercorn Brie Burgers

Hi, Thanks for taking the time to consider my recipe and I surely do hope that you like it! This recipe was inspired by my adventures as a prep cook in a french restaurant while I was going to college as an art major. As a result, I'm fond of wine flavoring reductions and think of recipe creation as a artistic endeavor. My goal with this recipe was to contrast the richness of the beef and brie cheese with the tanginess of the Dijon vinaigrette and the freshness of the tomatoes. I wanted crunch with the sweet onions and cornichons and a peppery, herby note with the peppercorns, arugula and basil. Thanks much and I hope to see you in Napa country (never been but I hear it's beautiful)!


2 cups Sutter Home Pinot Noir Wine
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons garlic, chopped fine, divided
2 pounds ground chuck
2 teaspoons plus 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1 tablespoon green peppercorns in brine, drained & chopped fine
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 teaspoons Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Colavita Balsamic Vinegar
3 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive oil
3 cups arugula
1/2 cup basil, slivered
vegetable oil for brushing on the grill rack
1 pound double cream Brie cheese, cut into wedges (rind on)
6 pieces pita bread
3/4 cup cornichons, coarsely chopped
1 (3-4") Walla Walla or other sweet onion sliced 1/8" thick
2 (3-4") heirloom or other tomatoes, sliced 1/4" thick


Preheat gas grill to high. In a 13" fireproof skillet, heat the Pinot and 1/4 cup chopped garlic over high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup. Set aside to cool. To make the patties, combine the beef, 2 teaspoons salt, peppercorns, oregano and wine reduction. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form into patties. Set aside until grilling. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, Balsamic Vinegar, remaining 2 teaspoons garlic and remaining 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. In a thin and slow stream, drizzle in the olive oil, whisking vigorously, until thick. Just prior to assembly, add the arugula and basil and toss to coat. Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, turning once, until done to preference, 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking distribute the Brie cheese among the patties and grill the pita on both sides. To assemble the burgers, split the pita bread and place a layer of cornichons on the bottom halves followed by the arugula basil salad, onion slices and tomato slices. Top with a patty and the top to the pita bread. Halve and serve. Makes 6 burgers