venison blue cheese burgers with wine-braised pears and salad


the following recipes make enough for four people, or two with leftovers.


braised pears

  • 3 cups iswithi pinotage* (or semi-sweet red wine)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider molasses
  • 3 large pears

bring wine, brown sugar and molasses to a boil and reduce by half. slice pears (leave the skin on for extra nutrition) and place in 8×8 glass baking dish. cover with wine mixture and bake at 400 about 25 minutes. you want the pears to remain firm, so check them at about 15 minutes and go from there.

do this at least an hour ahead of time so there is plenty of time to chill. (in the freezer if necessary.) toast the walnuts for the salad while you’ve got the oven on.

*buy two bottles because this only leaves about a 3/4 glass for the cook, and you’ll want a bottle of the same for dinner!

venison, bleu cheese and pear burgers

  • 1 pound ground venison (or any lean ground meat, red would be best)
  • 1/2-3/4 braised pear, finely diced
  • 1 cup bleu cheese crumbles

allow burger to warm to room temp so it is easily workable. mix all ingredients and grill to desired temp. for a kicked up catsup, i used one part leftover wine mixture from pears to two parts catsup. i would not serve with any other condiments other than lettuce, tomato and onion. jason highly recommends the bun be toasted. 

spinach and braised pear salad

  • 2-4 cups fresh spinach, stems removed
  • remaining* braised pears, sliced
  • 1/2 cup bleu cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts


  • 1/2 cup red wine mixture (leftover from pears)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (ish) olive oil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon raspberry preserves (i like it with seeds)

either assemble salads on plate and leave dressing on the side to be dressed by the diner, or combine all and serve immediately. mix dressing vigorously before serving or tossing. (i use measure, mix & pour from pampered chef.) note: on leftover night, we made the same salad and liked it better all tossed together before serving.

*if desired, reserve some of the pears and the leftover wine mixture for this great dessert

i served the salad and burgers with a side of balsamic pasta salad leftover from the weekend.



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