RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Midnight Sun Bison Burgers with Herbs with Blueberry Walnut Butter and Grilled Portabellos

This burger is inspired by hunting and gathering gourmet meals in Alaska. Since it is not possible to buy wild game meat such as moose or caribou in a store I substituted bison (commonly called buffalo in the meat department) which is also a free ranging large animal in Alaska and raised for meat in other parts of the U.S. What motivated this recipe is the seasonality to acquiring food for the winter that occurs throughout the summer and late fall up north. It is the end of August now and the blueberries are ripe and ready to be picked in the mountains...it is also hunting season and time to fill your freezer. Fresh herbs picked from your garden and portabello mushrooms accent the wild earthiness of the combined flavors of this burger recipe.

Ingredients 

2 pounds ground bison (buffalo) burger
¼ cup Sutter Home Pinot Noir
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tablespoon diced fresh thyme
1 tablespoon diced fresh chives
2 teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground peppercorns
½ cup crumbled chevre
½ cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup of blueberries
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon diced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon diced fresh thyme
1 tablespoon diced fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon ground pepper
½ cup chilled butter
Olive oil for brushing grill
6 Portabello mushroom caps
4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Sutter Home Pinot Noir
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
24 mixed arrugula and red leaf lettuce leaves
Red onion, thinly sliced into rings
Hearty sourdough buns, split in half

Instructions 

To create the patties, combine in a large bowl the ground bison, Pinot Noir, garlic, thyme, chives, salt, pepper, and chevre. Using hands, mix gently just until ingredients are melded together. Divide the mixture into 6 portions, form into patties of uniform thickness that will fit into the bun, and chill until grilling.

To make the herb blueberry butter, first place the softened butter in a bowl. Finely dice the rosemary, thyme, tarragon, and add to butter along with the fresh blueberries and walnuts. Squeeze the lemon juice into the bowl and mix with a sturdy fork until well blended. The blueberries should be mashed enough so the butter turns purple, but should still retain some texture. Place the chilled butter into the bowl and slice it into thin pieces with a knife. Mix with the fork until the butter mixture consolidates and becomes cool. The spread should be slightly chunky. Chill until ready to use.

In a separate bowl, make the mushroom marinade. Combine olive oil, Pinot Noir, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pour into shallow baking dish. Lay cleaned and de-stemmed portobello mushrooms into the marinade, gill side down. Brush the tops of the mushrooms with the marinade and let briefly soak.

Brush the grill with olive oil. Position the patties onto one side of the grill over a direct flame and the mushrooms on the other side, also over a direct flame. After 5-7 minutes, flip them all over and cook for another 5 minutes until the mushrooms are tender, and the burgers are juicy with the cheese slightly bubbling. After flipping the burgers place split buns onto the upper rack of the grill (if there is one) or on the edge away from the flame and toast them until warm and crusty, about one minute.

To assemble the burgers, place the bottom toasted bun on a plate, and cover with arrugula, red lettuce leaves, and sliced red onion. Set the burger on top and crown with a grilled portabello mushroom cap. Slather the top bun heavily with the blueberry butter and rest on top of the burger.

Enjoy!