During my Saturday errands, I stopped at a wine shop that carries some of the wines I tasted during our trip to Mendoza, Argentina three years ago. In addition to a replacement Malamado bottle (port-style Malbec), I purchased a bottle of inexpensive Bonarda. Although Bonarda is the second most commonly grown varietal in Argentina, it is not that well known or easy to find. For starters, it has a bit of an identity crisis. This grape is known as Charbono in the US, Corbeau/Douce Noire in France, and its’ practically extint in its current form in Italy. Bonarda wines can be lighter in body than a Malbec, darker in color (almost inky), with lots of fruity notes (cherries, plums, figs), light tannings and moderate acidity.
So… Bonarda is also known as Charbono, which sounds almost like carbón, and that’s Spanish for charcoal… how about some grilled burgers? Pairing burgers and wine is like meeting with old college friends; it may not happen often, but when it does, it makes for a memorable time. Homemade burgers can turn into “woo food” quickly when special touches are added. This weekend, we took the humble beef patty and cradled it into a homemade bun, smothered in basil mayo, and topped with Provolone cheese, arugula, and a fat tomato slice. The burgers were made with ground beef stew chunks, which resulted in a leaner burger than the regular 80/20 ground beef blend. We got 4 patties out of 1.5 pounds of beef, and we cooked them on a grill pan for about seven minutes (medium).
I wanted to get back into baking yeast bread after having fun with quickbreads in the last couple of weeks. For the longest time, DH and I have been looking for a great burger bun. I’m still looking for one, but in the meantime, I found a recipe that’s easy to make and not overly time consuming (for bread baking, anyways). Our buns baked beautifully, although they were a little too dense – not as airy as I would have liked. Next time I’m considering cutting the flour by half a cup and increasing the time of the last raise to at least a full half-hour instead of the suggested twenty minutes. I made half the recipe into buns and the rest into a small loaf topped with dried herbs and black pepper.
Not all weekends are made for large elaborate food projects. Other than baking the buns, preparing homemade burgers was a fast, easy, and delicious way to end the weekend.