Lean, low-fat ground bison gets a flavor
boost and moist, juicy texture from
reconstituted dried morel mushrooms. With so
few calories & fat, you
can even afford to top your burger with
some good, old-fashioned country bacon and Swiss cheese
If using dried morels, reconstitute them by covering them with warm water for about 20 minutes. When plump and pliable, drain the morels (reserving the liquid for other use) and rinse them well. Pat them dry and set aside.
If using fresh morels, stir 1 teaspoon of salt into a large bowl of cold water until dissolved. Immerse the fresh morels for about 20 minutes to loosen any debris and "hitchhikers," then drain and gently rinse under cool running water. Set aside to drain for a few minutes.
Heat the olive oil in a pan and briefly sauté the onion and reconstituted morels until the onion is softened and slightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, gently mix the ground bison with the sauteed morels & onions. Be careful not to break up the morels too much. Add salt and pepper to taste. Divide the bison mixture into 4 equal portions and gently form into patties.
Cut the bacon strips in half. Place in a non-stick frying pan and cook over medium-high heat, turning frequently, until crisp. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Keep warm.
Preheat the broiler. Place the burger patties on a foil-lined broiler pan and brush both sides lightly with olive oil. Broil the burgers until browned on top, about 4 minutes. Turn the burgers and continue to cook second side until browned, about another 2 minutes. (Note: Naturally lean bison cooks much more quickly than regular ground beef - be careful not to overcook.)
Place one strip of bacon on the top of each bison patty, then top with 1/4 of the cheese. Return to the broiler for 30 seconds or just until the cheese begins to melt. Remove from the broiler
Spread horseradish-mayonnaise on the buns. Place the burgers on the buns, top with lettuce and serve.
Horseradish Mayonnaise: Mix the prepared horseradish and the mayonnaise thoroughly. Add a pinch of salt if desired.
Note: We used the smallest morels we could find (1 inch or less in length) and left them whole. If you decide to use larger morels, you'll need to slice them to the desired size.