He thought I was working on dessert and all was going well as I added the frozen cherries, dried cherries, sugar, ginger, allspice, cardamom and cinnamon to a saucepan, but the look on his face when I tossed in the vinegar, a couple cloves of garlic and cayenne pepper was priceless! See, this was actually the beginnings of a swanky "ketchup" for the savory Cherry Burgers (yes, you read that right!) that I was about to start making for dinner. No tomatoes in this ketchup though - the fruity mixture simmers away until the cherries soften and the flavors combine. It is then pureed into a thick, smooth topping.
The patty for the burgers is actually a combination of lean ground sirloin, finely chopped dried cherries and panko breadcrumbs to help bind and lighten the mixture. To enhance the savory aspect, the burgers are seasoned with a clove of minced garlic, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and pungent Worcestershire sauce. The beefy mixture held together quite well - when you go to form the patty, be sure to make an indent in the center of each so they cook evenly without shrinking.
Rather than having these on a thick, bread-y bun, they are served on thin, toasted English muffins so you still get that familiar carb crunch, allowing the burger's full flavor to shine through. Simply assembled with a crisp romaine lettuce leaf, ringlets from a sweet onion and the bright, tangy cherry ketchup. To remove some of the "bite" from the raw onions, they are allowed to sit and mellow out in icy water - this way they can retain their crisp texture without having to cook them. Sweet, yet decidedly savory and meaty, these juicy fruit-filled burgers were fun, interesting and they are sure to strike up a good conversation!