By Mark Kenyon
Sick of the cold and the snow? I’ve got you covered.
Whether it’s a hot summer evening or a depressingly cold and snowy spring day (like today while I’m writing this) – I’ve got a recipe that is sure to bring a little summertime into your life.
Summertime Stuffed Venison Burgers.
Let me explain to you what you’ll experience upon your first bite…
You’ll start out with an audible crunch as you bite into the lightly crisped ciabata bread roll, followed shortly by a fresh burst of iceberg lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion – almost as refreshing as a dip in the lake on a summers eve. As you continue your bite, you next encounter a wave of warm, creamy melted cheese like a ray of sun. But coming next is what truly defines the Stuffed Venison burger experience. You pass through the cheese, and are greeted with firm yet juicy textures and flavors of venison burger. So familiar, yet so wild. And as the rich red and meaty juices flood your taste buds, you couldn’t imagine asking for more. And then, an explosion of new flavors from within, as gooey American cheese, onions, and red and green peppers wash over your palate.
You can take a moment now to wipe the drool off your chin. Don’t be embarrassed, just get cooking. Do yourself a favor and give this bad boy a try ASAP. Its guaranteed to bring a little sunshine to your day.
Ingredients (serves two)
1 lb ground venison
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 C mixture of chopped red onion, green peppers and roasted red bell peppers
4 slices American cheese
2 ciabatta bread rolls
sliced dill pickles
salt & pepper
1. Combine ground venison, panko bread crumbs, and one egg in a mixing bowl with your hands until well mixed. The bread crumbs and egg are binding agents that will help your burger patties stay together. (Optional, add finely chopped uncooked bacon for extra fat, binding, and deliciousness.) 1 lb of venison will make about two stuffed burgers, so increase venison amount if you need to feed more.
2. Chop green pepper, red onion and roast red bell peppers to end up with about a 1/4 cup mixture
3. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in cast iron skillet or whatever frying pan you have available to medium heat.
4. In a smaller pan, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and heat it to medium, eventually add chopped green peppers and onions. Sautee for 3-4 minutes or until soft to touch. Add roast red bell peppers for 30 seconds – 1 minute, then remove pan from heat.
5. Form burger patties from combined venison mixture, with 1 lb of venison, you should have 4 patties.Make patties a little thinner than you usually would, and on half of your patties make a shallow thumb imprint, about the size of a half dollar. Salt & pepper each patty lightly.
6. For the two patties with the thumb imprint, place one piece of American cheese, folded into a smaller square, to fit into the imprint.
7. Spoon the finished pepper and onion mixture on top of the cheese in the middle of the two patties, about a spoonful or two on each.
8. Combine the cheesed patties with the burger only patties by placing the second patty on top of the first and pushing together the edges. You should now have two “double decker” burgers, with the cheese and onion mixture hidden inside. Hence the “stuffed” venison burger title.
9. Carefully slide each combined patty onto the hot oiled pan, cooking for 3-4 minutes on each side, until visibly cooked through.
10. While meat is cooking, melt a tablespoon of butter, and use a small brush to brush inside of ciabata bread rolls with butter on each side.
11. Place each piece of ciabata bread, inside up, into the oven and place it on “broil”. Take the bread out when it visibly starts to crisp and get brown on the edges – it shouldn’t take more than a minute or two max.
12. When meat is just about finished cooking, place one slice of American cheese on top of each burger. And cover with a saute pan lid until cheese has melted in a gooey, dripping mess.
13. Once burger patties are finished cooking and cheese has melted, place each burger on its ciabata bread roll, and top with iceberg lettuce, a sliced tomato, red onion, pickles, ketchup and mustard OR whatever other toppings you like!
And finally, enjoy! (Note: If you’re of age, this burger is best enjoyed with a good summertime brew like Oberon, Blue Moon or Summer Shandy!)