Blogs, Recipes

Blue Cheese Burgers with Red Wine-Onion Jam and Crispy Beer Battered Onion Rings

Are you looking for a delicious Memorial Day recipe? Look no more!

Burgers are one of summer’s classic dishes and an ever-popular pick at backyard barbecues everywhere! Not only are these burgers a cinch to make but they are the tastiest burgers you will ever eat! 

I love using Italian sausage in my burgers! It is a  smart shortcut, because the meat is already seasoned. Caramelized red onions are tasty in their own right, but simmered in a sweet/spicy mix of red wine, honey and herbs, they turn into the most delicious jam ever. And it is a perfect addition to these Blue Cheese Burgers!

Brian and I love to top these burgers with homemade Beer Battered Onion Rings! I included our recipe below. It’s delicious! Not a beer fan? Sub in any other carbonated beverage, including ginger ale, club soda or your favorite soft drink.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • ½  pound ground Italian sausage
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 hamburger buns, split

Red Wine-Onion Jam Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat your grill to high heat.

Mix the meat and blue cheese in a large bowl until combined. 

Shape the meat into four burgers, each about 1 inch thick.

Brush with oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides.

Place the burgers on the grill and grill until golden brown, three to four minutes. 

Turn the burgers over and continue grilling to medium, about three minutes longer. 

Remove the burgers to a plate and let rest while you grill the buns.

Butter the cut sides of the buns and season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill, butter side down, and grill until lightly golden brown, about 30 seconds.

Place the burgers on top of the bun and spoon some onion jam on each burger. Top with the buns and serve immediately.

Red Wine-Onion Jam

– makes 3/4 cup –

Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan on the grates of the grill or on a stovetop over medium-low heat.

Add the onion and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Add the wine, vinegar, honey, and thyme and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated, five to seven minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. 

The jam can be made two days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Crispy Beer Battered Onion Rings Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) pale ale beer 
  • 2 large yellow onions
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of flour with the paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Whisk in the beer until the mixture is well combined. Let the batter rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.

While the batter rests, cut the tip off of the stem side of the onions then remove the peel. Slice the onions horizontally into 1/2-inch-thick rings and toss them with the remaining 1/2 cup of flour.

Add the vegetable oil to a large, heavy-bottomed pot (Dutch oven) to a depth of 2 inches and heat it over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 375°F.

Working in batches, dip the onion rings into the prepared batter, shaking off any excess, then immediately drop them into the hot oil. Be careful not to overcrowd the pot. Allow the onions to cook in the oil, flipping them once to guarantee even browning, for a total of about 3 minutes. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate.

Immediately season them with salt. Repeat the coating and frying process, returning the oil to 375°F between batches, with the remaining onions.

TIPS: 

When measuring beer, don’t include the foamy head in your measurement. 

Shake off as much of the excess batter as possible when coating the onion rings in order to get the best ratio of onion to batter.

Recipes

Pear & Pecorino Ravioli with Pancetta and Walnuts

Ravioli stuffed with a fresh pear and cheese filling and sauteed in a buttery sauce with crispy pancetta, this ravioli recipe is a fancy dinner made easy!

The sweetness of the pears complements the salty and creamy cheese filling of these easy ravioli. It’s sweet and savory, my two favorite flavors! 

As you know by now, I love making homemade pasta and that doesn’t stop with the basics like spaghetti and fettuccine – I also enjoy making homemade ravioli. 

First, you will want to make the filling. 

Peel and core the pears. Then using the fine side of a box grater, grate the pears and Pecorino into a bowl and combine. Add ¼ cup of  the mascarpone, 2 Tbsp. of the chopped parsley, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Set to the side. 

If you are making your own pasta, which I highly recommend, follow my Homemade Pasta recipe blog post. 

If you don’t want to make your own pasta dough, you can also use store bought wonton wrappers to cut down on time.

Roll pasta dough into long strips.  I used a pasta machine attachment on my stand mixer to make it easier.

Press a ravioli cutter stamp or circle cookie cutter into the flour and then press down firmly to cut out raviolis or wonton wrapper. Place on a prepared lightly floured cookie sheet. 

This is a ravioli cutter, I purchased from Williams Sonoma.

Scoop about 2 tsp. of the filling into the center of the ravioli. Place another ravioli round on top. Using a pastry brush dipped in water, moisten the exposed pasta around the filling. Starting in the center, gently press and shape the dough around each mound, working out to the sides and forcing out any air. 

Repeat this process until all ravioli is made.  Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

In a large pot of boiling water, add ravioli and once they float to the top, cook another couple of minutes, save about ¼ cup of the water and drain the rest. You will want to use the reserved pasta water to help thicken the sauce later.

For the sauce, melt the butter and sauté the shallots and garlic. I love shallots, while similar in taste to an onion, I think they have a bit more “refined” flavor and are more delicate, and softer. 

Once the shallots and garlic are slightly brown, add in the chopped pancetta. Pancetta is an Italian salami made of pork belly meat that is salt cured. You can find pancetta in the deli at most local grocery stores, like Publix. If you can not find Pancetta, bacon will work too. Cook the pancetta until crispy. 

Add the stuffed ravioli to the same pan, and coat with the buttery sauce for about 2-3 minutes. Slowly add the reserved pasta water, a tablespoon at a time into the pan, this will thicken the sauce slightly. Continue to sauté the ravioli for about 2 more minutes, you want to heat the ravioli all the way through. Lastly, stir in the chopped parsley. 

Place the cooked ravioli on a plate, spoon the buttery sauce over the top and sprinkle with toasted chopped walnuts. Yum! 

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 lb. Bartlett pears, peeled and cored
  • 8 oz. Pecorino Toscano cheese
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. fresh pasta
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped pancetta
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 3 Tbs. chopped toasted walnuts

DIRECTIONS

Using the fine side of a box grater, grate the pears and Pecorino into a bowl. Add the mascarpone, 2 Tbsp. of the parsley, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Kitchen Aid Pasta Roller: Using the roller attachment, roll the pasta into a thin sheet and cut into 12-inch-long pieces.

Hand method: Roll out the pasta and cut into 12-inch-long pieces. 

Press a ravioli cutter stamp or circle cookie cutter into the flour and then press down firmly to cut out raviolis. Place on a prepared floured tray.

Scoop about 2 tsp. of the filling into the center of the ravioli. Place another ravioli round on top. Using a pastry brush dipped in water, moisten the exposed pasta around the filling. Starting in the center, gently press and shape the dough around each mound, working out to the sides and forcing out any air.

Transfer the ravioli to a lightly floured baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cooking.

Bring a large pot two-thirds full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add half of the ravioli and cook until they float and are al dente (tender but firm to the bite), 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the ravioli to paper towels to drain. Repeat to cook the remaining ravioli. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

In a large, deep sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Sauté the chopped shallots and garlic for 2-3 minutes. In the same pan, add the pancetta and cook until crispy. Season with salt and pepper. Add the ravioli and gently stir to coat with the butter. Add the reserved cooking water as needed to create a sauce. Stir in the remaining 1 Tbs. parsley.

Transfer the ravioli to a warmed serving bowl, sprinkle with the walnuts and serve.

 Inspired by Lidia Bastianich

Recipes

Kona Coffee Crusted Steak

My friend, Amy travels for work so when she texted me that she just ate one of the best meals of her life and wanted me to learn how to recreate it, I felt like I had to accept the challenge. 

This steak recipe will have you licking your plate and asking for more! 

The coffee rub is quick and easy to whip up. You may be thinking, “Really? Coffee on steak??” YES! It gives the steak such a rich, bold flavor. After trying this coffee crusted steak rub you will likely want to keep a jar of it in your cabinet at all times. 

First, you’ll need to choose the coffee, I personally love to use Kona Vanilla Macadamia Nut. It gives the steak a slightly sweet but savory flavor. But you can choose any coffee! 

Whisk in a bowl: the coffee, granulated garlic, ground black pepper, grated parmesan cheese, salt and dry mustard powder. 

Here’s a tip I learned, it is best to take the steaks out of the fridge about half an hour before you plan to cook them. Why? In the words of Food Network’s Bobby Flay “freezing-cold steak won’t cook evenly!”

Remove the wrapping from the steak, roll the steak in the coffee rub pressing to create a crust. Place on a plate and let the steak come up to room temperature on the kitchen counter while you make the Shallot butter. 

I love making different types of butter so when I saw this recipe called for a Shallot butter, I was super excited. You will need to allow 2 sticks of butter to soften to room temperature. While the 2 sticks are getting to room temperature, take 2 additional tablespoons of butter and melt, I usually use a coffee mug in the microwave for 30 seconds. 

Warm a sauté pan over high heat, slowly pour in the melted butter, and heat for about two minutes, this is called the smoke point. Add the sliced shallots and caramelize for two minutes, seasoning with salt. Continue to caramelize as shallots start to brown, add the garlic and sauté for one minute. As the shallots and garlic start to brown deglaze with white wine and lemon juice. Once the mixture starts to boil, take off the heat and let cook for one minute. Place the two softened butter sticks into a bowl, pour the shallot mixture on top and whip together. 

I fell in love with this butter and keep a small amount in my fridge at all times. I use it for almost anything from scrambled eggs, sauteing vegetables to pasta dishes. 

Preheat the grill. 

Place the steak at the hottest part of the grate, and let it sear for two to three minutes, then flip the steak and sear the other side for two to three minutes. If you try to lift the meat before it’s ready, it’ll stick to the grates. 

After the steak is seared on both sides, use tongs and move it to the warm side of the grate (not directly over the coals), brush with Shallot butter. Close the lid and continue to cook the steak until it’s at your desired temperature. Here’s another tip, do not stab them with a fork, or press down on them with a spatula, this will release their flavorful juices into the flames below. Just let them cook until your desired temperature. I like to use a digital instant-read meat thermometer to check the temperature of the steak while it’s still on the grill. 

130°F for rare, 135°F medium-rare, 145°F medium, 150°F medium well and 160°F for well done.

Keep in mind that the steak will continue to cook a few degrees more when it’s removed from the grill.

Using the tongs, remove the steak from the grill, place on a cutting board, and brush with the Shallot butter, loosely cover it with aluminum foil, and allow it to “rest” for five minutes (the temperature will continue to rise a few degrees).

After 5 minutes, brush Shallot butter onto a plate, place the steak on top and serve. 

I served my steak with a twice baked potato and garlic wilted spinach. Yum! It was the perfect steak night meal! I included the garlic wilted spinach recipe below. 

INGREDIENTS 

  • 2 6 oz filet mignon steaks, trimmed of fat

Coffee Rub:

  • 1 tablespoon coffee, grounded                         
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic                                       
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper    
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ tablespoon seasoning salt                                           
  • ½ tablespoon dry mustard powder

Caramelized Shallot Butter: 

  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature                                      
  • 1 cup shallot, sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced                     
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted                                         
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt                                                
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper                             
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice     
  • 2 tablespoons white wine                                                

Warm a saute pan over  high heat. Add the melted butter, heat to the smoke point, and add the shallots.

Caramelize the shallots for two minutes and season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Continue to caramelize the shallots, add the garlic and deglaze with 2 tablespoons of white wine and ½ teaspoon of lemon juice. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat for one minute.

Combine shallot garlic mixture and softened butter in a mixing bowl and whip to combine. 

Roll the sirloin in the coffee rub pressing upon rub to create a “crust”. 

Grill the steak to the desired temperature being careful not to burn the crust. Brush the sirloin with the butter and allow the sirloin to “rest” for 5 minutes. 

Brush Shallot butter onto a plate, place the steak on top and serve. 

Inspired by Capital Grille Recipe.

Garlic Wilted Spinach

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb baby spinach 
  • Salt & pepper to taste 

DIRECTIONS 

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add oil and garlic. Saute garlic in oil for 2 or 3 minutes. Add spinach to the pan in stages. Fill the pan with leaves and turn leaves in warm oil until they wilt. Add more spinach to the skillet and repeat the process until all of the spinach is incorporated. Season the wilted spinach with salt and pepper, then serve.