Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Burger Night

A few months ago, I picked up some ground bison meat at the New Amsterdam Market. If you haven't had a bison burger before, I'd highly recommend it - the meat is much healthier and leaner, plus it's really delicious (and not too far off from regular ground beef, so you don't notice all that much, except that your burger is surprisingly good). Anyway, it promptly went into the freezer, waiting for a burger night.

Needless to say, it was waiting for awhile. So when Wright requested sweet potato fries for dinner last night, I knew that there would be no better compliment than the bison burgers, so we turned it into a full-on burger night. I used my new cast iron grill pan (thanks Wright!), so it almost felt like we were at a barbecue - a perfect respite from the January weather.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries
2 medium sized sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 pinch cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Sea salt (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Using a sharp knife (this can be difficult) cut the sweet potatoes into fry-like sticks, a little less than an inch thick.
3. Spread fries out on a rimmed baking sheet, and toss with olive oil to cover (use more if necessary). Add spices (minus sea salt) and toss again, spreading fries out along the baking sheet (try to fit them all in one layer).
4. Bake for about 45 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice along the way.
5. Serve with ketchup and coarse sea salt if you have it

Bison Burgers with caramelized onions and sharp cheddar cheese
1 large vidalia onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 lb ground bison meat (feel free to substitute regular beef)
1 shallot, finely diced
1 large clove garlic, finely diced
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
6 dashes Worcestershire sauce
4 dashes tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
A few slices of sharp white cheddar cheese
hamburger buns

1. Start the onions caramelizing immediately. Heat up a large pan with 1 teaspoon olive oil and one tablespoon butter. Add onions once hot, along with a hefty pinch of salt and a small pinch of sugar. Cook, stirring fairly often, on medium for about 5 minutes, then turn down to medium low and let cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are brown and caramelized (this can take about 3o minutes).
2. Mix the beef (using your clean hands) with the shallot, garlic, worcestershire, mustard, tabasco, salt, and pepper. Don't over mix, but make sure everything is combined somewhat evenly. Divide meat into four burgers (freeze two if you'd like - thats what we did).
3. Heat up your cast iron pan (or regular pan) on medium, and use either olive oil or a non-stick spray. Place burgers on pan when hot but not quite smoking, and cook each side about 3-5 minutes. For the last minute, place cheese on top and buns face down on the pan to toast.
4. Assemble the burgers by placing them on the toasted buns with a heaping amount of caramelized onions on top.

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