Warm weather is finally upon us.  It’s about time!  Though our forecast still seems full of unpredictable possible T-storms, we are starting to have more and more opportunites to fire up the grill.  In the summer there are not many things I enjoy more than preparing a great meal on the grill with some sort of cold beverage in hand.  Since I try to keep our menus varied and interesting rather than making the same old same old every week, I’m always on the lookout for a good grilling recipe.  When I saw the concept for Marsala burgers, I was thrilled.  A dish that combines a favorite summer activity (grilling) with the flavors of one of my all-time favorite dishes (chicken Marsala) – brilliant!  I want to hug the person who dreamed these up…and this fall I will get to, when I finally meet my blogging friend Tara in person.  Wahoo!

In our home, these burgers were born of necessity one evening when we ended up having unexpected company for dinner.  I had burger patties in the freezer, but I wanted something a bit more exciting than a traditional burger that night.  Thankfully I had everything on hand to whip up the Marsala topping.  I baked up some burger buns, threw together a quick salad and we had an awesome meal that was greatly enjoyed by all.  I think this concept would work equally well with the patties from the chicken Parmesan burgers, and I may try that next time.  Whatever way you prefer, definitely give these a whirl next time you are looking to put a spin on a good old fashioned burger.

  • Yield 4 servings


For the burgers:
1 lb. ground sirloin
2 tbsp. finely chopped yellow onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1-2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

For the topping:
4 slices of bacon or pancetta, chopped
2 cups white or cremini mushrooms
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. minced shallot
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 ½ cups Marsala wine (sweet)
1 ½ tbsp. fresh lemon juice (1 small lemon)
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature

Sliced provolone cheese, for serving
Hamburger buns, for serving


  • 01

    Heat the grill to medium-high.  To prepare the burger patties, combine the ground sirloin, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce in a medium bowl.  Mix together until well combined.  Form into 4 equal sized patties.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

  • 02

    To make the topping, place a skillet over medium heat.  Add the pancetta to the pan; sauté, stirring occasionally until pancetta is brown and crisp, about 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper-towel lined plate. Add mushrooms and increase heat to medium-high; sauté, stirring occasionally and scraping pan bottom, until liquid released by mushrooms evaporates and mushrooms begin to brown, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and shallot; sauté for 1 minute.

  • 03

    Return the cooked pancetta to the pan and add the tomato paste. Stir while sautéing, until tomato paste begins to brown, about 1 minute. Off heat, add Marsala; return pan to high heat and simmer vigorously, scraping browned bits from pan bottom until sauce is slightly syrupy and reduced to about 1 ¼ cups, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the lemon juice.  Whisk in the butter until completely melted.  Keep the sauce warm over low heat while grilling the burgers.

  • 04

    Grill the burgers, 3-5 minutes per side, until cooked through and no longer pink (160˚ F on an instant read thermometer).  Place a slice of provolone on top of each patty during the last few minutes of cooking.  Toast the burger buns on the grill until light golden.  Assemble the burgers on the buns and spoon the Marsala topping over the patties.  Serve immediately.