Welcome back, my friends!
You can enjoy a lovely glass of Napa Cabernet even more, with this “Napa Burgers“ recipe that’s designed for it!
I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s “Napa Burgers” recipe, which I created to go with Cabernet Sauvignon.
I promised then that I would explain the “why” behind the pairing.
Want to follow along?
Just *Click Here* to download your free, *foolproof* guide – “Rosina’s 5 Non-Rules for Pairing Wine with Food” – to see how simple it is.
As always, I called on “Rosina’s 5 Non-Rules,” plus lots of Cabernet-friendly flavors, to help me work out my cooking method and topping ingredients for my “Napa Burgers.”
And if you want to riff on some of my ideas to personalize the recipe and the pairing to *your* own tastes, go for it!
Did you notice that I specified “well browned”
Cook your burgers (in a hot pan or on a BBQ) until well browned (but rare to medium-rare inside). I love cooking lamb or bison this way. Next step: Cheese!
for both the onions and the burgers?
And I suggested bison, lamb or game, which have stronger flavors than beef, as the basic protein?
Well, I had the “Equal Strength non-rule” in mind – the first one I take into account when I set up a food-and-wine combo.
Very simply: With a big wine like Cabernet, you need really punchy flavors on the plate. You can easily build extra richness and depth into the “Napa Burgers” just by browning them enough to add a nice, toasty crust.
With this simple trick, the “Equal Strength” of the wine and food makes them equal partners, with neither one overpowering the other.
A little balsamic vinegar goes into the pan, with the olives, pepper, rosemary and pomegranate juice, to make the topping. Each ingredient creates a “flavor bridge” with a similar component in the Cabernet.
That’s a great starting point. But when you can fine-tune your pairings, they work even better.
So, to bring in the “Similarity non-rule,” I added a few ingredients to my topping that would echo similar flavors found in Cabernet – creating a “flavor bridge” between the food on the plate and the wine in the glass.
Many Cabernets are described as having “green,” “herbaceous” or “vegetative” characteristics. This is fairly typical (because of natural compounds called pyrazines in the grapes, but let’s skip chem class today! 😉 ) – and it’s not considered a wine “flaw” or “fault” unless it gets out of hand.)
With this medley of olives from my local market’s “olive bar,” I added lots of complexity to the burger topping, while picking up on Cabernet’s olive-like aromatics. (Just remove any pits and chop coarsely.)
Some very common “veggie” aromatics in Cabernet include olives (especially green olives, but I used several types to add complexity) and bell peppers (I used red ones, roasting them to soften their pungency and also tie in with the wine’s slight toasted-barrel smokiness).
And the rosemary (a milder-tasting, less-resinous variety that I grow, called “Majorca”), adds to the overall “herbal” impression in your mouth.
Balsamic vinegar, with its dark, caramelized flavors, and the red fruit of pomegranate juice, also provided “Similarity” pairings. In addition, the natural acidity of both, via the “Contrast non-rule,” balanced out the richness of the meat and cheese.
Adding sharp cheddar not only punches up the flavor of the “Napa Burgers” (the “Equal Strength non-rule”)
Three highly regarded Napa Cabernet Sauvignons
, but it also shows the “Contrast non-rule,”
thanks to its protein and fat, which help the burger grab on to some of the wine’s harsh tannin.
(Cabernet Sauvignon, especially when young, can be unpleasantly tannic.)
I hope you’ll try my “Napa Burgers” recipe during National Hamburger Month (or anytime). And I hope you like it! (That, of course, would be the “Personal Preference non-rule”!
I’ll be back soon, my friends, with more “Drink Wine With Dinner®” recipes, pairings, and Wine Country happenings to share with you.
Cheers and happy tasting –
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