FFWD – Café Salle Pleyel Hamburger

Moose mince, rather than beef, for the burgers.

I’ve eaten two hamburgers this summer, which has to be a record for me. Honestly, given the choice between a burger and a steak, I’ll choose steak every single time. Growing up, we had hamburgers at home occasionally, mostly in the summer when my Dad was in a grilling mood. (I’m leaving aside the ubiquitous fast food experience of most children of my era and location. I certainly enjoyed going to those burger joints as much as the next kid.) Since leaving home, though, I’ve rarely bought ground beef, mostly out of concern for food processing and contamination issues. Another big reason is that my parents often give me game and their own farm-raised lamb and pork. These meats easily surpass supermarket meats in taste and in healthfulness. I’ve been really lucky in that respect.

I happened to have a package of ground moose in the freezer, which I’d been planning to use in a shepherd’s pie once the weather got cooler. (I suppose purists would say I was planning a hunter’s or cottage pie, really.) Instead, I used it to make these burgers. I thought the flavours of the seasonings would go well with moose, with its slight gaminess.

Chopping the ingredients for the burgers.

The recipe calls for tarragon, parsley, capers, and cornichons (small, crunchy, cucumber pickles) to be chopped up and mixed with the meat. Sun-dried tomatoes are also called for, but I skipped those this time. I ground some pepper into the mixture, but omitted salt, as I thought the cornichons and capers would make the burgers more than salty enough for us.

Mixing the seasonings into the moose mince.

Moose meat, like most game, is very lean, so I was a little worried that it might not hold together well. If it hadn’t, I’d have added a little oil or butter. It wasn’t a problem, though I was careful to be gentle with the patties, just in case. I got seven small patties out of the recipe, kept two aside for us to eat immediately, then froze the rest.

Extra patties ready for the freezer.

Another advantage of game is that I feel much more comfortable cooking the ground version to medium rare than I do with store-bought ground meat. My parents use a small, meticulous butcher for their meat processing and I trust that there’s no contamination danger from their equipment. This is another reason I avoid hamburgers – I always cook them to well done, though I prefer medium rare. [By now, you may have realized I’m a little fearful of meat-borne illnesses.] The moose burgers were perfect at medium rare, with a nice sear on the surface and a melting, juicy tenderness in the centre.

The onion marmalade.

The burger is dressed with an onion marmalade, which is made by slowly cooking down minced red onion with coriander, butter and black pepper. The recipe calls for ribbons of Parmesan to top the burger, but I used Asiago instead. These dressings are more subtle than the usual mustard, mayonnaise, and ketchup, which allows the seasonings used in the burgers themselves to shine. The final touch was Udi’s gluten-free hamburger buns. I’d not tried them before, but they’re great. They’re tasty, but more than that, they don’t crumble or fall apart. It was such a treat, knowing that we could enjoy our burgers, gluten-free and without any compromise.

The finished burger, with cornichons and a dill flower for garnish.

I’m happy that we have some more of these moose burgers waiting for us in the freezer. Once they’re gone, I’m hoping that the organic meat store near my house will have opened. This recipe might mean that burgers make it onto my plate more than twice a year.

You can find many other blogged descriptions of this week’s FFWD recipe here: Café Salle Pleyel Hamburger


20 thoughts on “FFWD – Café Salle Pleyel Hamburger

  1. Teresa…you have me drooling over your version of hamburger…using moose meat is just as good 🙂 I don’t mind using moose meat if I can get them over here 🙂 Your red onion marmalade looks good too. I enjoyed making this burger and enjoyed chomping them down 🙂

  2. I have never had moose meat. I’m sure your burgers were delicious, they look fantastic! Love your photos! Your marmalade looks great, too! We thought these were terrific burgers. I froze two for later. So much flavor! Glad you enjoyed them. Have a great week-end!

  3. I think this is a FFwD first…MOOSE! I love your version…I know my hubby misses his rare burgers and I bet yours were delish.

  4. Once again I find myself very jealous of the meat you are able to get from your parents. It must be so nice to have such a trustworthy source.

    Great looking burgers!

  5. I chose to grind my own meat to control what went into the burgers.
    Your burgers do look beautiful!
    Interesting take using the moose meat.

  6. Your mini moose burgers look so good! I could not figure out what your first photo was and then as I read on I got it! Moose what?? I bet these were delicious- would have loved to taste;-)

  7. Your red onion marmalade looks like red cabbage. Mine looked like washed out, overcooked onions. I did enjoy the burger though, but I envy you all the fresh meats from your parents,
    that must be a really nice treat. Since Tricia was traveling, I had her boys come for dinner
    and help Grandpa and I with all these burgers. Your photos are great.

  8. My brother hunts moose, elk, etc and tries to get me to use it…all the family except for me loves the meats which my brother processes himself…a hobby I suppose. I could be a vegetarian with no trouble. But there are lots of men in my family and several stop by to eat daily…and Hubby is a high protein eater, so I really have no choice but to be a meat cooker. Everyone loved the burgers…I did not follow the recipe but was inspired by it. I am now inspired by the sites I’ve visited and when it gets cooler here, like January, I’ll revisit this recipe and do it justice. Always love reading your blog, seeing your photos, and getting tips from you. I think I will tell my moose meat loving brother about your burgers…I think he would like them just the way you made them.

  9. Ooh… the idea of a moose burger is just so intriguing! You’re so lucky to have access to all those good (and safe) meats. Those gluten free burger buns look really great too, they look so fluffy it’s hard to believe there’s no gluten there to hold everything together.

  10. I’m drooling over all your fresh meats! I’ve never had moose, but I’ve never really come across a meat I didn’t like, so it sounds awesome to me!

  11. What’s so wonderful about having your own meat like that is you can grind it and know exactly what is in it. Lucky you! I have had elk, but never moose. How interesting! It sounds like you had fun with this recipe. Your pictures are so pretty and I love the one of the onion marmalade – you were able to capture the red!

  12. Love the use of moose. I miss my regualr packets of venison in all its forms from my hunting friends in Wisconsin. I read your post and thought, oh, venison would be good with these seasonings. Great photos, and your marmalade looks like it really turned out great.

  13. Great use of the moose meat. Thanks for writing about Udi’s burger buns, I never know what I’m going to get with gluten free bread products so it’s nice to see a good review. I will definitely pick up the next time I’m at a supermarket.

  14. What an interesting post, Teresa! You are really lucky. An organic rancher just started selling grass-fed beef at our local farmers’ market, and there truly is no comparison to the meat at the grocery store. I love that you made the recipe your own!

  15. Great narrative and pictures! Your burgers must have been delicious because of the fresh meat! We had burgers at a BBQ yesterday and a friend said that burgers are safe to cook till medium as the bacteria is only on the outside. Bet you won’t buy that! 🙂

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