The deeply flavored, slightly sweet balsamic reduction caramelizes this juicy burger when grilled. Although balsamic reduction sounds fancy, it's so simple to make. Only two ingredients, balsamic vinegar and honey, cook down and concentrate their aromas and flavors to make a delicious sauce. Tangy goat cheese melts with fresh thyme to create a creamy spread, which pairs well with the sweetness of the balsamic and honey. I like to layer my balsamic reduction burger with lettuce, tomato and red onion but you can eat it anyway you like. Stack it all up together and finish with warm goat cheese slathered toasted buns and you elevate the humble burger to a gourmet meal. - kitchen witch —kitchen witch
Test Kitchen Notes
By the time August rolls around, my kids usually groan to see more burgers on the barbeque. This time it was different. Swathed in a nice balsamic honey glaze, the burgers had a nice dark color and tasted sophisticated and grown up. The goat cheese sauce is the perfect accompaniment, and begged for a few fresh basil leaves and tomato slices as condiments. Next time I would also try adding slices of grilled/roasted red pepper to keep with the Mediterranean theme. - ECmtl —The Editors
1 1/2 cups aged balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
Warm Goat Cheese Spread
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 ounces goat cheese
2 ounces light cream cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
Optional toppings such as: 6 lettuce leaves, 1 thinly sliced red onion, 1 sliced large tomato
For balsamic reduction: Boil the balsamic vinegar and honey in a heavy small saucepan, uncovered, over medium-high heat until reduced to about 1/3 cup, stirring occasionally, about 18 minutes. While mixture reduces make goat cheese spread. Balsamic reduction can be made days in advance and reheated.
For warm goat cheese spread: In a small saucepan, heat olive oil at medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring from time to time, for 5 minutes or until it has soften. Add goat cheese and cream cheese and stir. Cook, whisking with a whisk, just until cheese has melted and mixture is combined, hot and creamy. Remove from heat. Add thyme, salt and pepper and stir well. Cover with a lid to keep warm.
Preheat the grill. Divide beef into six portions and shape into patties. Sprinkle patties on both sides with salt and pepper. Cook burgers over medium high heat until meat reaches desired degree of doneness. Baste the burgers with balsamic reduction the last 2 minutes of cooking. To assemble the burger, generously slather each toasted bun with warm goat cheese spread. Layer with the patty and drizzle remaining balsamic reduction on meat. Layer lettuce, tomato, and red onions slices. Top with goat cheese coated toasted bun.