2000s Recipes + Menus

Buffalo Burgers with Pickled Onions and Smoky Red Pepper Sauce

  • Active time:1 hr
  • Start to finish:2 1/2 hr
June 2004
A low-fat alternative to beef, ground buffalo is becoming increasingly available.

For sauce

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk dressing
  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped
  • Rounded 1/4 teaspoon hot Spanish smoked paprika*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For pickled onions

  • 2 small red onions (1/2 lb total)
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For burgers

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 lb ground buffalo**, formed into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) patties
  • 4 English muffins, split in half
  • Special equipment:

    about 20 wooden picks

Make sauce:

  • Roast bell pepper on rack of a gas burner over high heat, turning with tongs, until skin is blackened, 12 to 15 minutes. (Or broil pepper on a broiler pan about 5 inches from heat, turning occasionally, about 15 minutes.)
  • Transfer to a bowl and cover tightly, then let stand 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel pepper, discarding stem and seeds, and coarsely chop. Purée pepper in a blender with dressing, garlic, paprika, and salt until smooth, then transfer to a bowl and chill, covered, until ready to serve.

Grill onions:

  • Peel onions and trim root ends slightly, leaving onions whole, then halve lengthwise and cut halves lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Insert 1 wooden pick through each wedge to hold layers together while grilling, then put onions in a bowl.
  • Heat vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small nonreactive heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Pour pickling liquid over onions, stirring occasionally to coat with liquid, and let stand 5 minutes (onions will brighten in color), then drain onions and pat dry.
  • Prepare grill for cooking. If using a charcoal grill, open vents on bottom of grill, then light charcoal. Charcoal fire is medium-hot when you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 3 to 4 seconds. If using a gas grill, preheat burners on high, covered, 10 minutes, then reduce heat to moderate. Grill onions on a lightly oiled grill rack, covered only if using a gas grill, turning over once, until tender, about 5 minutes total. Remove and discard wooden picks.

Grill burgers:

  • Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of burgers, then grill burgers on lightly oiled grill rack, covered only if using a gas grill, turning over once with a spatula, 5 to 6 minutes total for medium-rare. Meanwhile, grill English muffins, turning over once with tongs, until toasted, about 3 minutes total. Serve burgers on muffins topped with sauce and onions.
Cooks’ note: If you aren’t able to grill outdoors, you can use a hot well-seasoned ridged grill pan. Grill onions first, then burgers, then muffins, all over moderately high heat. (Burgers may take 1 minute longer than if cooked outdoors.) Lower heat during cooking as necessary.

*Available at specialty foods shops and Tienda.com.
**Available at Whole Foods stores.

Each serving contains about 250 calories and 14 grams fat.
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