Bison Burgers: A burger from far and wide

Bison Burgers on Bannock

Bison Burgers on Bannock

With Canada Day over and the nights of ragamuffins setting off surplus fireworks slowly petering out, it’s tempting to put away those ultra-Canadian recipes until next year.  Now, I would tend agree with this when it comes to recipes for Canadian flag cakes and things of that kitschy sort but recipes highlighting the wonders of Canada’s bounty should never be shelved!

Here is perhaps the most Canadian recipe I’ve yet to develop.  I’ve jammed as many provinces as possible into these wee burgers and it just so happens that they are perhaps the best burger recipe I’ve ever whipped up.

We have the Prairies through the use of tasty and healthy bison (though I would never scoff at the use of good old Albertan beef), Quebec and Canada in general with maple syrup, mustard to showcase the fact that Canada is the world’s largest supplier of mustard seed, and summer savoury to give them a real East Coast flavour.  Top these little numbers off with some good old fashioned Canadian cheddar (my favourite is Avonlea Cloth Bound Cheddar from PEI for it’s potato-y rind) and you’ve got a perfect ode to Canada!

The hubs who is a true burger aficionado was left in silent glee after digging in and I hope you will be too!

Bison Burgers

Makes 6 burger

1 large or 2 small red onions, finely diced
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon pepper, divided
¼ cup pure maple syrup
550g ground bison
1 egg
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1 ½ teaspoons dried summer savoury
¾ cup good quality aged Canadian cheddar (my favourite is Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar from PEI)
6 burger buns or Bannock Buns

Place a medium frying pan over medium-low heat and add the onions, butter, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper.  Stir to combine and allow the onions to cook until they become lightly caramelized.  Add the maple syrup, stir, and continue cooking until the onions are jammy and well caramelized.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the bison, 3 tablespoons of the cooled maple caramelized onions, the egg, Dijon mustard, breadcrumbs, parsley, summer savoury, and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper.  Using your hands, mix just until combined.  Divide the bison into 6 equal burgers and press into rounds about ¾” thick.

Preheat your grill or a skillet to medium/medium-high heat and lightly drizzle the burgers with canola or vegetable oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.  When hot, cook the burgers to your desired doneness, topping with cheese for the last minute or two of cooking.  I typically do 4 minutes on the first side, 2 ½ minutes on the second, then I top the burgers with cheese and cook for an additional minute or two. 

Rest the burgers for about 5 minutes and serve on split bannock or burger buns with Dijon mustard, arugula, and some of the leftover maple caramelized onions.