Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dark Days Challenge Week 9: Bison Burgers with Meritage Onions and Ashe County Cheddar

Looking back over my last eight Dark Days meals, the theme seems to be Southern comfort food: grits, mashed potatoes, corn bread, and gravy have each made more than one appearance on the plate. But I suppose it makes sense that meals made using local ingredients will inevitably reflect the traditional regional cuisine! This week, however, my menu was a bit less Southern and traditional, although it still might qualify as comfort food: Bison Burgers with Meritage Onions and Ashe County Cheddar with a side of baked sweet potato fries
The burgers are based on a recipe from Epicurious for Bison Burgers with Cabernet Onions and Wisconsin Cheddar. I substituted a Meritage from a North Carolina vineyard and a cheddar cheese from Ashe County. It is getting more difficult to find local fruits and vegetables, and I am increasingly skeptical about what Harris Teeter labels as “Locally Grown.” This display did nothing to quell my skepticism:

Note the sign at the top identifying the apples as "Locally Grown" and the label on the box which reads "Leola, PA." Not anywhere close to being "Locally Grown." I definitely need to have a friendly chat with the produce manager!

So, while my bison, wine, cheese, lettuce, and sweet potatoes were local this week, I used a number of organic ingredients as well: sandwich buns, onions, olive oil, shallots and mustard. The kids had chocolate milk from a local dairy and organic mayonnaise on their sandwiches.

None of us had ever had bison, but we all really enjoyed the burgers and will make them again. DH did a great job of cooking the burgers just on the rare side of medium rare. 

He and I loved the onions, although we had a disagreement over how the recipe intended them to be served – he thinks the recipe says to serve them chilled. I think the recipe is not terribly well-written because it makes no sense to put cold cooked onions on a burger! I prevailed and we had warm onions. One kid loved the onions on the burger, the other declined to try them. Another Dark Days success!


sam said...

We tried local bison and elk burgers in Gardiner, Montana this summer on our Yellowstone trip. They were quite good. There's a bison ranch about 70 miles from here, but I don't know where they sell their meat - will have to investigate! In the meantime, we'll have to try the onions (and I agree, warm is better!)

Lynn said...

I found a recipe for bison meatloaf this morning that has great reviews. We may have bison for our dark days meal two weeks in a row!

mesh said...

Mmmm, bison! I should get it more often

Guinnah said...

well..obviously I would pass on the bison but the onions sound wonderful (and I would definitely do warm...). And just the name of the cheese sounds so good... I love a really good cheddar.