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!