When my friend Alexia and her husband Olivier came to visit us from Paris, I was determined to show them the wide range of food available in beautiful, sunny California. First I took them to Costco; the size of the carts and the large portions of American products such as flour, eggs, sugar or the 1-gallon milk bottles were almost comical to them.
We came across the meat section and Olivier said he had never tried bison meat. So today, preparing bison burgers made me a bit nostalgic for their visit last month.
I made pita burgers and added a French twist by flavoring the ground meat with fresh sage and thyme. I also melted thin slices of Gruyère cheese on top of the burgers and finished the seasoning with fleur de sel Alexia had graciously given us. It was absolutely merveilleux, splendide! Miss you, guys!
1. Info for Bison Pita Burger Recipe
- Cook Time: 40 min
- Total Time: 1 hr 20 min
- Servings: 16
- Calories: 512
2. Ingredients for Bison Pita Burger Recipe
- 4 pita bread rounds
- 2 pounds ground bison (buffalo)
- 1 leaf sage, very finely chopped
- 1 sprig thyme
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons green onions, chopped
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 ounces Gruyere cheese, thinly sliced
- 1½ cups shredded lettuce
- 3 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 cup tzatziki sauce
- 1 teaspoon regular table salt
- 1½ teaspoons black pepper
- Note: Any ground meat would work fine for this recipe.
- Making the bison burgers:
- In a non-stick pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Brown the garlic. Transfer the garlic with the fragrant oil to the ground meat.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, chopped onions and green onions. Mix well. Add Worcestershire sauce. sage and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
- Checking the seasoning: In a small pan, heat about 1 teaspoon of oil. Add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture. Cook for about 2 minutes. Taste the meat. Adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper if necessary.
- Pan-frying the bison burgers:
- Grease disposable gloves with oil. Roll the mixture into 16 patties, press the center of the burgers using your thumb to create a small indentation (see tips) and place them on a tray lined with parchment paper. Chill them in the freezer for 20 minutes (this step will make cooking the burgers much easier).
- Remove the burgers from the freezer. You can cook them right from the freezer.
- Using the same non-stick frying pan, add more oil and pan-fry the burgers until they’re slightly browned; gently flip them without applying any pressure and brown the other side as well, for a total of 5 minutes. Carefully remove to a platter lined with paper towels.
- Place in a large zip top bag. Spread specks of the cheese, then flatten the quinoa burger mixture into a thick layer (about 1 inch). Cut open the bag and form 18 burger patties using a circle cutter. Form 2 more burgers with the scraps.
- Using a non-stick pan, heat the rest of the oil. Place the burgers and cook until a nice crust is formed. Flip the burgers, add a slice of Gruyère cheese and cook over low heat for about 2 more minutes. Remove from the pan. Allow to rest for about 10 minutes.
- The probe of a digital thermometer in the center of the burger should reach about 145°F (see tips), depending on how pink you like the meat.
- Serving suggestion:
- Toast the pita bread over the flames of your stove. Quarter them and separate them so you add the filling. Spread a layer of tzatziki sauce on one side. Layer a tomato slice and top with lettuce and finish with the burger patties. Sprinkle a bit of fleur de sel.
- Serve warm.
- Bon appétit!
4. Tips and advices:
- You could substitute ground beef for the bison.
- Creating a small indentation in the center of the raw burgers helps the meat keep its shape once it’s cooked, otherwise it might shrink or lose its shape.
- For bison meat, the thermometer should register at least 130°F (I prefer 145°F, so the meat is less rosy). You can get a digital thermometer at IKEA for a reasonable price. Note: The IKEA brand thermometer has a magnet so I can stick it to the hood of my stove while pan-frying the meat.