RECIPE: Mitsitam Cafe buffalo and duck burger
Buffalo and duck burger topped with roasted pepper, Dijonaise sauce and smoked tomatoes
Duck confit is the secret ingredient in this buffalo burger from Chef Richard Hetzler’s summer menu at the popular Mitsitam Cafe in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.
Hetzler combines a homemade confit to moisten and add richness to flavorful ground buffalo. Fresh herbs, roasted tomatoes and Dijonaise sauce complement and amplify the taste of a unique burger that draws on two different indigenous American meats.
1 3/4 lbs. ground buffalo meat
8 oz. duck confit (see recipe below)
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 medium shallot finely chopped
¼ tsp. fresh thyme finely chopped
½ tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
2 oz. ground duck fat, if available
3 oz. baby lettuce
4 slices aged cheddar cheese
4 brioche rolls (or roll of your choice)
1 small onion sliced thin and caramelized
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Roma or other plum tomatoes cut into halves and roasted (can substitute sundried tomatoes packed in oil)
For homemade confit
4 duck legs
1 clove garlic
1 clove shallot
2 sprigs of thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
8 oz. olive oil or vegetable oil
For Dijonaise sauce
1 poblano pepper, roasted and peeled
1 chipotle pepper, diced
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
4 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tsp. Creole or whole grain mustard
1 oz. roasted garlic
To make confit
- Place duck legs in roasting pan with all confit ingredients and cover.
- Place in a 325-degree oven for three hours. Remove duck legs from oven, being careful not to burn yourself with the hot oil. Place on a baking sheet to cool.
- When meat is cool, pull off bone and shred meat with your fingers, then season with salt and pepper.
- Cool duck meat in refrigerator until use.
For Dijonaise mustard sauce
- Place all Dijonaise sauce ingredients in a blender. Blend well.
- Season with salt and pepper.
To make burger
- Place cut tomatoes in 300-degree oven for 1½ to 2 hours until semi-dry. Remove and cool.
- Caramelize onions in saute pan with a little oil and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix ground buffalo with confit and if available duck fat, saving lettuce, tomatoes, and caramelized onions for later. Season with salt and pepper.
- Form into four patties and refrigerate for at least half an hour before grilling.
- Cook on grill to desired doneness, and top with aged cheddar cheese.
To build burger
- Lightly toast both sides of bun and spread with about 1 oz. of Dijonaise sauce.
- Place baby greens, then tomato, on the bottom of the bun and place meat on top.
- Heap caramelized onions on the meat, put top of the roll in place; serve and enjoy.
By Richard Hetzler, executive chef of the Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe