When my aunt called me a couple weeks ago and asked if we could stay at their house and dog sit for the weekend, I thought of one thing…their grill. Since we don’t have space for a grill at our condo, I’m pretty sure that Nathan and I would have taken care of 5 dogs and one rabid hamster in order to have the chance to share a grilled delicacy with our Rampant Cuisine readers…yes, we do love you that much… all two of you. SO, after I secured my aunt and uncle’s permission to use the grill, Nathan and I were faced with a dilemma: when you only have one night to grill and infinite possibilities, WHAT do you grill??
After much conversation and deliberation we chose…the burger. Not just a normal burger but a burger bursting with our favorite ingredients…feta, olives, garlic, mint, and Texas Pete. Yes, it was as good as it sounds. The burger was juicy and flavorful and the mint was a surprisingly successful twist.
Of course, on the night that we grilled it poured…cats, dogs, hamsters, etc…a soaking, driving rain. Nathan stood outside under his umbrella doing a delicate dance of keeping the patties and buns dry and not lighting the umbrella on fire. He looked miserable…but we both agreed that these burgers were totally worth it.
Since our burger had a decidedly Greek/Mediterranean flair I wanted to select a wine made of grapes grown under somewhat Mediterranean conditions. The vineyard that produced this Malbec is located at the base of the Andes mountains in rocky soil and a warm climate. The soil and climate in much of Greece shares these attributes so in Katryn world the pairing made sense. It was an added bonus that the wine is surprisingly affordable ($10)! It was smooth and mild and was an excellent contrast to the bold and savory flavors in the burger.
Ovila Saison was brewed in partnership between Sierra Neveda and the Abbey of New Clairvaux in California. They have teamed up to produce traditional abbey style ales and their Saison is one such effort. This Saison was not the best I have ever had but it was certainly good. The citrus notes of the beer cut through the spice, mint, and fat of the burger quite well. At $15.00 a bottle (750ml) it certainly came at a steep price and probably won’t be repeated any time soon.
Greek Burgers (Makes 3-4 burgers)
2 Hot Italian Sausages
½ lb. ground beef (we used 85/15)
¼ cup feta cheese
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs. Texas Pete hot sauce
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 pepperoncinos, chopped
1 Tbs Kalamata olives, chopped
1 Tbs. mint, chopped
Salt and Pepper
Combine first 12 ingredients in a large bowl. Form mixture into patties.
Prepare a charcoal or a stove-top grill.
Cook the hamburgers for 4 minutes on 1 side, then turn and cook 3 minutes on the other side for medium-rare. Remove to a plate and cover with aluminum foil. Allow the hamburgers to rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, grill the buns, cut side down, for 1 minute, until toasted. Place a hamburger in each roll, plus lettuce, tomato, and extra feta, if desired, and serve hot.