Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bison Cheese Burgers with Red Wine- Caramelized Onions

If you are looking for something different to grill for Labor Day weekend, these Bison Cheese Burgers with Red-Wine Caramelized Onion are really delicious. I found this recipe on Epicurious last winter when I was doing the Dark Days Challenge -- cooking one meal a week using as many local ingredients as possible. Not only was this a great dish, but I was able to make it using exclusively local ingredients, in January. We used a grill pan since our grill at that point was buried in several feet of snow, but prefer cooking them as we did here, on the grill.

Bison Cheese Burgers with Red Wine- Caramelized Onions

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups sweet onions, sliced thin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt (divided)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1 pound ground bison
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 4 hamburger buns or 8 slider buns
  • 6 ounces good quality cheddar cheese, grated
  • Dijon mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook until tender and golden brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook until very tender and well browned, about 15 minutes longer.
  3. Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
  4. Preheat a gas grill on high.
  5. Gently mix meat, shallot, remaining salt, black pepper and thyme in large bowl, taking care not to over work the meat. Shape the bison into four 1/2-inch-thick patties or eight smaller patties for sliders.
  6. Clean the grill grate thoroughly and spray grill with cooking spray.
  7. Put bison patties on grill and cook about 3-4 minutes per side for medium-rare sliders or about 5 minutes per side for regular burgers.
  8. Flip the patties a second time, put the buns cut side down on the upper rack, add the grated cheese to the patties, and close the grill so that the cheese melts.
  9. Lightly spread the bottom halves of the buns with mustard and the top halves with mayonnaise. Top each bottom bun with a burger. Spoon onions atop burgers, dividing equally. Cover with bun tops and press lightly.
Yield: 4 burgers
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

So good!

I served this with sweet potato fries for my January Dark Days meal. Last night, I served the burgers as sliders and celebrated the flavors of the season with a summer succotash of lima beans, corn, tomatoes and squash. Loved the succotash, but the bison sliders were the star of the meal.

While DH was grilling tonight, I went through the kids' binders to make sure there was nothing there that we needed to see. I came across a social studies pre-test that W had taken on North Carolina history, geography, etc. He had missed a question about whether buffalo were once raised in NC. He got it wrong, which I questioned. Turns out this his teacher makes a distinction between bison (raised in NC) and buffalo (not). Who knew? In the food world, it seemed to me that the two terms are used interchangeably.  Curious, I did a little googling.  While a number of sites (including the infallible Wikipedia!) claim that the two species are the same, Life's Little Mysteries (how's that for credibility?) explains that bison are a North American species while buffalo can only be found in Africa and Asia. Now you know.

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