Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bison burgers with caramelized onions, pears, wild blueberry reduction and goat cheese

This recipe is my own but was very loosely inspired by one I came across in a newspaper years ago. The gamey flavour of bison goes nicely with the sweetness of cooked fruit and the tart creaminess of goat cheese. In making the patties, I combined ground bison and ground pork, mainly because bison is expensive and my butcher suggested pork for its relatively neutral taste. Also, bison is a lean meat and with burgers you need some fat. That being said, feel free to use all bison. This recipe makes 8-12 burgers, depending on the size you prefer.

To make onions:
Follow these directions to prepare caramelized onions using two Spanish onions. I added a generous splash of fruity red wine during cooking. While onions are cooking, prepare pears and patties.

To prepare pears: 
Peel and core 4 ripe Bosc pears, then slice each half lengthwise into four pieces. If you're cooking your burgers in the oven, set the pears aside to bake at the same time as the patties. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes at 400F, turning once. I found the pears baked fine without olive oil.

To make burger patties:
In a large mixing bowl, combine 500 g of ground bison and 500 g ground pork with 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 1T Dijon, 1T Worcester and freshly cracked black pepper. Shape into about 8-12 patties, then bake at 400F for about 18 minutes, turning once. Adjust the cooking time based on the size of the patties. Finish the patties by broiling for an extra two minutes. If you use a grill, reduce the heat by about 50 degree F compared to beef patties. 
 Add sliced whole wheat hamburger buns to the oven for the last 3-4 minutes to toast.

To make reduction:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 125 mL wild blueberry jam, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 1tsp fresh or dried thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes until slightly syrupy, then cool. Note: the mixture will continue to thicken while cooking.

To assemble:
Spread top half of bun with a smear of goat cheese. The the bottom bun with a patty, a smear of blueberry reduction, caramelized onion and the pears.


  1. This looks so good! I have never had bison. Is it similar to beef flavor? I would have no clue how to even prepare it! Heather

    1. I'd say it's closer to venison, if you've ever tried that. Any sort of specialty butcher that sells meat like bison is usually really helpful in giving tips to prepare it - just ask! Another good resource is website for farms that supply that type of meat. Often they will have a few recipes. If you ever try it, let me know what you think!

  2. That is so freaking fantastic. I really prefer bison to beef. It's sooooo delicious but hard to find, especially here in Illinois. I think any kind of red/game meat is so delicious with goat cheese AND some sort of berry chutney or sauce. WOW. I just made myself hungry typing those words. And looking at your picture. MUST MAKE THIS NOW.
    ♥ laura
    the blog of worldly delights

    the shop of worldly delights

    1. Then you will absolutely love this! Let me know if you end up making it, and how it turns out!

  3. kat, thanks for both your links in to Food on Friday. As a result of reading so many burger recipes today I am making burgers for dinner! Cheers


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