Thursday, June 25, 2015

Savory Mushroom Burgers with Blue Cheese

I love marinated and grilled portabello mushrooms. They are meaty and juicy and carry the flavors of the marinade...usually red wine, garlic and fresh rosemary. When I serve them instead of meat burgers there are never any left. Still, I got to thinking that putting them on top of a burger and adding some good blue cheese would be even better.

We've made them twice now. The first time we scarfed them down so quickly that I didn't get any photos at all. This Sunday I managed to get a couple of photos, but I also found out that the wine you use in the marinade really makes a difference.

The first time I used a fruity light red wine and I really liked the result. This last time I used a spicy zinfandel and it wasn't as successful. Both were still delicious, but the zinfandel soaked mushroom was more assertive, so the burger and cheese were a bit overwhelmed with the strong flavor of the wine. Next time, and there will be a next time because these are that good, I'll use a milder, fruity red wine again and perhaps a bit more blue cheese. We put them on toasted hamburger buns and added nothing else. If you don't care for hamburger, just make the mushrooms, toast the buns, melt the cheese on on side of the buns, add the grilled mushroom and any fixins you like...lettuce, bacon, tomato slices, onion, etc and you will still have an awesome sandwich.

The mushrooms do well when you allow enough time to marinated them for at least 8 hours. I put them into a ziploc bag with the sliced fresh garlic and 3-4 springs fresh rosemary, then add about 1 1/2 cups red wine. I put the bag into a shallow bowl to encourage the liquid to be near the mushrooms, not out at the corners of the bag. Once about 2 hours have passed, I turn the bag over so that the other side gets marinated, then over again in 2 hours, and over again the final two hours. When you are ready to grill the mushrooms, drain them well, brush with olive oil and grill them long enough to heat them all the way through, plus to get some grill marks and char. Discard the marinade. If you like you can put the rosemary sprigs in the barbecue to create rosemary smoke, but that's optional. The mushrooms have plenty of rosemary flavor from being soaked in it.

I made these with ground beef, but you could use ground turkey or chicken, or a mixture of ground meats. For the blue cheese, use the kind you like the most and the amount you prefer. We only had a little left from the previous time we made these, so it was a little less than I like, but still gave that wonderful blue cheese flavor. For the buns, again, use the kind you like to use with burgers. If you can make your own and it will be even better!

Mushroom Blue Cheese Burger Stacks
Serves 4

4 medium portabello mushrooms, stem removed and wiped clean
3-4 stems fresh rosemary
1 clove garlic (or more if you like), peeled and sliced
about 1 1/2 cups red wine
gallon ziploc bag or large plastic bag and twist tie
flat pie plate or bowl
freshly ground black pepper to taste
olive oil
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
your preferred hamburger seasonings
2 - 4 oz gorgonzola or other blue cheese
4 hamburger buns

About 8 hours, but at least 4 hours before you plan on eating, begin to marinate the mushroom. Place the mushrooms, rosemary and garlic in the plastic bag. Add the red wine and any pepper. Seal the bag and shake to distribute the ingredients. Place the bag in the pie plate or shallow bowl so that the mushrooms are flat in it and the marinade surrounds the mushrooms as closely as possible. After 2 hours, turn the mushrooms upside down and again place the bag so the mushrooms are flat and surrounded by the marinade. Continue to marinate and turn every two hours. When you are ready to cook them, drain off the marinade and discard it. Brush the mushroom smooth side with olive oil.

Season the ground beef as you prefer for hamburgers, then shape into 4 patties. Slice the blue cheese into thin slices and put next to the patties, but not on them. Take the drained and oiled mushrooms, patties and blue cheese, plus the buns, to the barbecue. Grill the mushrooms and burgers until done, turning once half way through. Again, the burgers should be prepared the way you like burgers. Toast the buns on the grill, too. When it is almost time to remove the burgers, top them with the blue cheese, close the grill and let the cheese melt.

Stack a grilled bun bottom, mushroom, smooth side down, burger, grilled bun top. Serve at once.

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