Thursday, March 13, 2008

Burgers with a sweet cherry twist...

There are some days that I wish I had a camera trained on Jeff's face just so I could show you some of his reactions when I describe what I'm doing in the kitchen. Jeff is a fanatic of cherries - dried, fresh or frozen - when I tossed a bag of frozen cherries in the cart at the market, he was very excited as he thought I was making a sweet treat with them. He was very wrong though, as he found out tonight!

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!


  1. how interesting...I usually like fruit and meat combos. I was wondering how much actual cherry taste there was? I usually like cherries, just not that syrupy canned/pie filling stuff. I wonder how they'd be using ground turkey instead of beef...

  2. The burgers sound simply amazing. I think my husband would probably have a similar initial reaction as Jeff at the cherries going toward the burgers.

    We recently went to the Burger Bar here in Vegas; I ordered a turkey burger and chose to have cranberries as a topping. Kind of traditional Thanksgiving flavors, but not quite traditional on a burger. It was very good.

  3. this is very interesting...cherry eh! Thanks for sharing this idea :-)

  4. WOW! Jeff's got the right idea. I love dried cherries, too. I can't get enough of them. This recipe is so unique, I definitely have to try it. Thanks for posting it.

  5. That looks like it's actually really good! That's thinking outside of the box for ya. Nice job.

  6. Lex - the cherry flavor was there, but it was not a predominate flavor. Turkey should work well.

    Jill - I'll have to find that burger bar! We love going to Vegas.

    Funkee - Let me know if you try it!

    Karen - Unique is right and quite tasty!

    Hillary - Thanks!

  7. I really like the sound of this! I've had burgers on my mind lately and this sounds like a delightful change from the norm. Very nice work!

  8. Joe,
    I made the Cherry Burgers tonight. Excellent! My 87 y.o. FIL said these were the best burgers he can "remember" eating. I think that was his way of a compliment! I really liked the "Cherry Ketchup" and liked the crispy onion .I've never soaked an onion before! but the contrast between the bitey onion and the sweetness from the ketchup was very nice. Thanks, Steph

  9. Steph - Very glad to hear you liked the burgers!