When you live in Okanagan wine country, you find time to relax and enjoy your surroundings, no matter how busy you are. If you’re Mark Filatow, chef and co-owner of Waterfront Wines in Kelowna, that means savouring local seafood, produce and meat both at home and at his restaurant. Filatow, a certified sommelier, likes the region’s rieslings and syrahs so much he belongs to a tasting group of local vintners (he’s is the only non-winemaker to have snuck in). Between serious tastings, members gather for family shindigs, often held in Filatow’s backyard. While friends from wineries like Tantalus, Quails’ Gate and Orofino supply the vino, Filatow prepares these killer burgers, a salad fresh from his garden and apricots in gewurztraminer for dessert.
2 lbs ground pork
2 lbs ground beef, lamb or bison
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, toasted and coarsely ground
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup red wine
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat or light the charcoal.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine all the ingredients except for the wine. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Turn the mixer down to the lowest speed and drizzle in wine. Return to medium speed for 1 minute longer. The mixture will have become shiny. Remove meat from the bowl and form into 12 patties. Grill burgers approximately 6 to 8 minutes per side, to an internal temperature of 150 F.
Serve immediately with toasted buns and a variety of mustards and relishes, mayo, pickles, cheese, bacon and juicy tomatoes. (For something special, pickle red onions in advance by slicing them ¼-inch thick, grilling them lightly and placing them in a jar with red-wine vinegar, salt and pepper for a week before serving.)