Category Archives: bison

Bison-Stuffed Zucchini Boats

If you’ve been reading this blog for longer than 2 weeks, you will probably have picked up on the fact that I often enjoy the challenge of using up what I already have on hand instead of just constantly buying new food.  So, every few months or so, I get the urge to do a complete pantry, fridge, and freezer inventory whereby I pull everything out, asses, and then either dispose or re-home my findings.  It’s a good way for me to see what I have, what I need, and what needs to be used up relatively quickly.

It’s also a good way for me to procrastinate from doing my laundry or cleaning out my car, both of which need to be done but neither of which you want to hear about.

During my last inventory session, I unearthed a package of ground bison in the freezer and a can of pizza sauce in the pantry.  I knew I could build a meal out of those two ingredients without having to run to the store, which is always a bonus since a certain manager at a local grocery store sees me so often he now calls me “trouble”.

So much for ever being incognito, huh?

I pulled out a few zucchini, some cheese, and an onion from the fridge along with some frozen red peppers, and got cooking.  Since it was almost midnight, I knew I had to work quickly so as to not wake M up.

Using up what you already have and making a quick and delicious meal? A good thing indeed.

Zucchini, red onion, garlic, red peppers, ground bison, cheese, pizza sauce, Italian seasoning

Wash and halve a few zucchini’s lengthwise, like so:

If need be, cut a small slice off of the bottom of each half so that the zucchini sits nicely.  Mine were ok, and I couldn’t be bothered to make them perfect so I didn’t.  Use a spoon to hollow out the zucchini, but leave a 1/4″ border or so for stability, and because zucchini is delicious.

Give the zucchini innards a rough chop, and set them aside.

Next, chop up a red onion, while trying not to cry.

I found a bag of frozen red pepper strips in my freezer, so I chopped up a few handfuls of those too.

Throw all of the veggies into a pan with a drizzle of olive oil, and saute for a few minutes.  Add a few cloves of minced garlic too, for good measure.  If you have any veggies that are knocking on deaths door, this would be a great way to use them up.

Surely I am not the only one that ever has vegetables go bad in their fridge.

When the veggies have started to soften, add the ground bison. If you don’t have any ground bison, try ground beef, or turkey, or chicken, or pork.  This is all about using up what you have, folks!

However, if you aren’t familiar with ground bison and would like a reason to be, you should give it a try – it’s fabulous!  Check out this post where I talk about some of it’s attributes, or just take my word for it.

Since bison is extremely lean, it doesn’t give off much fat (i.e. probably no need to drain the meat).  Open up a can of pizza sauce, or tomato sauce, or diced tomatoes, or whatever you find in your pantry, and add it to the skillet.

Next, a healthy sprinkling of Italian seasoning.  If you don’t have any of that in your posession, give a few good shakes or basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, or whatever sounds good to you.

Give it a stir, and reduce the heat to low.  Let the meat mixture simmer for about 20 minutes or so to allow the flavours to all blend together in a way that’s just magical.

I heard that said on TV once, although I’m not sure if it’s true or not.

Once the meat has thickened up like this…

…taste it for seasonings, and add more of whatever it needs.  I debated adding some cooked quinoa to the filling, but decided against dirtying another pot.  If you have any leftover grains already cooked in your fridge, now would be a good time to use them up.  It would also stretch the meat a little further, which is never a bad thing.

Grab the zucchini boats and put them on a baking sheet, and then fill with the meat mixture.

Sprinkle liberally with cheese, because cheese makes everything better.

Sing with me now…mozzarella and cheddar!

Up close and personal, just the way I like it:

After about 20 mins at 350-degrees, dinner was served!

And I didn’t care that it was 11:48pm; I dug right in!

Yummm…these bison-stuffed zucchini boats feel both healthy and decadent at the same time, which I will never complain about.  M and I both loved these (“These are fantastic!” he proclaimed the next day) and fought over who could have the last one.

He won, by the way.  I figured it was only fair to let him win since he often puts up with me cooking in the wee hours of the morning.

Please contain your jealousy.

Until next time…

xoxo

Jaclyn

 

 

Bison Burgers

A new organic grocery store opened about 15 minutes away from my house, and I couldn’ t be more excited.  Yes, I’m being serious.  I love exploring new grocery stores! Call me weird if you want, but I love perusing each and every aisle for new products, so I was thrilled to have the chance to do just that recently.

On my first trip, one of the things that caught my eye (and that I subsequently came home with) is organic ground extra-lean bison.  Have you ever tried bison before? Up until a few months ago, I hadn’t.  Naturally, I did some research (hello Google!) and was pleasantly surprised to find that bison is leaner than beef, pork, chicken, and most fish.  In addition, it is higher in iron and protein than beef, and is lower in fat and calories.  Sounds good to me! Oh yes, and it tastes good to boot 🙂 I think we have a winner on our hands!

Today seemed like as good of a day as any to do something with the bison, and so I figured burgers would be the perfect fit.  I don’t know about you, but burgers seem to be one of those things that I always either love or hate…no middle ground.  I was spoiled fortunate to grow up in a household where homemade burgers were the norm, but not the kind that some people in the 80’s grew up with involving equal parts sawdust bread crumbs and ground beef.  No no, my parents used the good stuff – Lipton onion soup mix and lean ground beef! They always tasted great, but were predictable.  I like a little more variety in my meals that my parents do (sorry, Mom and Dad), so since I think that the meat is really just a starting point I try to experiment a little more.  Upon opening my fridge tonight, I found some blue cheese that I figured would be a natural complement and so blue cheese bison burgers were born.  Hmmm…what else?  I think that many things are better with bacon in them, and since burgers are no exception why don’t we throw some in to the burgers too?  No objections? Good – I just love it when you agree with me.

What’s that? You think they sound great? Me too.  So let’s get cooking already!

Here’s what we’re going to need:

Ground bison (I think that’s about 1lb), parsley, red onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, blue cheese, bacon, stampede bbq seasoning, salt and pepper.

To get things started, go ahead and chop up 4 slices of bacon…

…and go put on elastic waist pants.  You’ll thank me later.

Using a food processor or your superior knife skills, finely mince some red onion so it goes from this…

to this:

Add about 1/4 c of the minced onion to the bison, and then throw a handful of parsley into the food processor and do the same thing.

Yum!

Add about 1/4 to the bison and red onion, and then throw 3 cloves of garlic into the food processor…

Ok, I’ll stop. You know the drill.

Add about 1 TBSP of Worcestershire sauce too, for good measure.

Did you notice that I’m actually using a measuring spoon instead of just pouring a glug in and calling it a tablespoon? I’m trying to be more duplicatable.  And you’re welcome.

Wait a minute! What about the bacon?!?! Can’t forget about it!

Whew…just in the nick of time.  If I burnt the bacon, I would be very, very sad. Remove the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate and let it drain for a few minutes.  This is a HEALTHY burger we’re making, after all.

Back to the burger. A few months ago I picked up a bottle of PC BBQ Stampede Seasoning (or something along those lines), and I figured I might as well try it out in (on?) these burgers.  So I did.  I added one tsp to start.

Mix everything up gently. Don’t be shy, use your hands already! Just wash them first, ok?

Now, it’s time to add the cheese and bacon. Since blue cheese is strong, I’m going to start with adding 1/4 c of crumbles and see if it needs anymore.  Let’s add the cooked bacon now too, just cause we can.

Ok, you caught me: the truth is I didn’t want to write down the “recipe” as I was going, so I figured if I added 1/4 c of everything it would be easy to remember.  Sorry.  Sort of.  Ok, not at all. Does this change how you feel about me?

Gently mix in the cheese and bacon…

Now, here’s where making burgers is tricky.  It LOOKS good, but we all know that looks can be deceiving.  If you’re the type to taste raw meat, go right ahead, but if you’re not (and I’m not, for the record), make up a small tsp sized patty and fry it up to check the seasoning levels.  It may seem like an extra step, but its better to know now than to cook under-seasoned burgers.  Trust me. I’ve done it. And I want you to learn from me.

Besides, it only takes a minute or two. Think of it as an amuse bouche of sorts.

Hmmm…lets see.  I was holding back on the seasoning due to the BBQ Stampede Seasoning since I didn’t want them to be too salty, but these definitely need some salt and pepper.  Let’s add a generous pinch of salt, some freshly cracked black pepper, and another tsp of our seasoning blend. Yes, I think that should do the trick.

Gently incorporate the additional seasonings, and then shape the meat into a giant ball.  Divide into 4 equal sized portions, or more/less depending on how big you like your burgers.

If you’re like me and you realize that your BBQ is out of propane (oops – how terribly irresponsible of me), shape each portion into a round patty and put them on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Broil for 8-10 minutes or until they’re done to your liking.  Since bison is leaner than beef, you’ll want to watch these so they don’t dry out.

Meanwhile…let’s talk about burger toppings, shall we? Hmm…what do do, what to do…

I know!

Remember the bacon that we made a few minutes ago? You didn’t think I was going to let the bacon grease go to waste, did you?

Ah – so much better!

Oh ya – now we’re talking!

The burgers should be almost done, so let’s build a better burger, ok?

Let’s start with the bun.  To toast or not to toast? That is the question.

For me, the answer is to toast, but you can decide what it is for you.  I won’t judge.  On purpose, anyways.

Remember the red pepper chutney I demonstrated about a month ago? I think that would be fabulous on the burger, so let’s start with some of that.  Then add the burger on top, and some carmelized red onions for good measure.

Couldn’t you just take a big bite right now?

Wait a minute!

I turn my back for a minute, and someone must have added extra bacon and blue cheese on top of my burger! And then, to top it all off, they had the nerve to steal my camera and take a picture for you all to see!  Oh the horror! I will take one for the team this one time.  Sigh.  The torture that is my life.

Alright – nothing to lose (except for any hope of a girlish figure) so I’ll take a bite. YUM –  The sweetness of the chutney is the perfect complement to the sharpness of the cheese, and the meat is perfectly cooked.  These burgers, my friends, are definitely a good thing.