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bison meat
If get you tired of chicken, try bison – which is a lean meat but requires care to keep it from drying out. Photo by Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune

It's a chicken-filled world. At least at my house. Sauteed chicken, roast chicken, chicken sausages in a variety of flavor combinations. Though I appreciate the bird's lean nutrition profile, I appreciate more the occasional detour from our fine feathered friend to another tasty beast, bison.

The meat needs care, however, to prevent its drying out, and it needs perking up. This burger applies Mediterranean flavors to the American animal, to delicious effect. It's quick and easy to prepare. A crunchy side of fennel and radicchio slaw would be welcome.


Out of breadcrumbs? Crunch up some crackers instead with a rolling pin or food processor.

No bison in your store or your culinary lexicon? Sub ground beast of another nature: turkey, chicken, beef, lamb.

Beverage pairing

A fine hoppy craft brew will stand up well to the piquant flavors.

Mediterranean Bison Burger

Prep time: 10 minutes; cook time: 10 minutes

1 pound ground bison

8 green olives, chopped

3 sun-dried tomato halves in oil, chopped

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/2 cup bread or cracker crumbs

3/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion, halved, cut in thin slices

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

4 buns, toasted

Place bison in a large bowl; break up slightly with fork. Add olives, sun-dried tomato and egg; work together with your hands until just mixed (don't overwork). Add breadcrumbs, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and pepper to taste; mix until just combined. Form into four patties; season them on both sides with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and pepper to taste.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet; add patties. Cook, turning once, until browned on both sides and medium rare, 9 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil in a second large skillet; add onion, seasoning with remaining 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook onions until soft and translucent, stirring in balsamic vinegar when almost done, 8 minutes. Serve burgers on buns topped with onions and condiments of your choice.

• Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition per serving: 549 calories, 48 percent of calories from fat, 29 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 147 mg cholesterol, 36 g carbohydrates, 35 g protein, 951 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.


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