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Balsamic Glazed Burgers with Warm Goat Cheese Spread

I stumbled across this recipe the other day when I was trying to use up some ingredients in my refrigerator before we went out of town….so happy I did!  I wanted to share it in time for the holiday weekend because it’d be a fun and easy way to fancy up a 4th of July cookout.  I adapted the recipe a bit but need to give all credit to “Kitchen Witch” at Food 52.com (I come up with a lot of recipes on my own but also get excited to share recipes that I have adapted from other sources…always with credit to the original source).  The sweet balsamic glaze caramelizes on the burger when it’s grilled and pairs so well with the warm creamy goat cheese spread and a sprinkle of fresh basil.  I happened to have balsamic glaze on hand but I’ll give you an easy way to make it if you don’t have it.

Balsamic Glazed Burgers with Warm Goat Cheese Spread (Serves 6)

Ingredients:

balsamic glaze OR balsamic vinegar and honey (see below for how to make the glaze)

1 tsp olive oil

2 tsp onion or shallot, diced

1-2 cloves garlic, diced

4 oz goat cheese

2 oz light cream cheese

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped

sea salt and fresh ground pepper

fresh basil

1 1/2 lbs ground beef (or ground turkey)

6 whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted or grilled

Directions:

Balsamic Glaze: If you do not have balsamic glaze on hand, reduce 1 1/2 cups of balsamic vinegar and 3 Tbsps of honey — boil in small sauce pan uncovered over medium heat stirring occasionally until reduced to about 1/2-1/3 cup (appx 18 minutes).  You can make this in advance.

Warm Goat Cheese Spread (make this just before serving the burgers): In a small sauce pan, heat olive oil.  Add onion OR shallots and garlic and cook for five minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally.  Add goat cheese and cream cheese and stir just until combined and warm.  Off heat, add thyme, salt and pepper.

Burgers: Preheat grill to medium heat (usually about 350-400 degrees).  Divide ground beef into six evenly sized patties — salt and pepper on both sides.  Cook burgers until meat reaches desired doneness (usually about 5-6 minutes a side).  Generously baste the burgers with balsamic glaze during the last two minutes of cooking.  Grill or toast the hamburger buns.  Spread the goat cheese spread on both buns, add the burger, drizzle remaining balsamic glaze, and add chopped fresh basil, spinach, lettuce, tomato, onion.

*We kept it simple for the toppings and just added fresh basil and spinach (not in picture b/c I didn’t want to cover up the pretty burger), and it was perfect.  We loved the balsamic, goat cheese and basil flavors together!!!

*For a side, I just tossed red skin potatoes and mini sweet peppers with Garlic Expressions and baked at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, broil for the last 1-2 minutes to crisp them up!

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