Bison is a unique meat that isn’t nearly as common around the world as it’s close alterative, beef. We’re lucky here in Alberta to have bison ranchers and to be able to enjoy this unique and tasty treat. Although close to beef in flavour and texture, it has a much more subtle flavour and is much leaner than it’s more domesticated cousin.
Cross Bar Ranch sent us some delicious ground bison to try out – and we thought what better way to try it than in some meatballs! The reason I love meatballs for this, is it really let’s the flavour shine. We paired it here with a simple homemade tomato sauce (I have orange tomatoes, hence the colour) over some sauteed veggies. But really, meatballs can be eaten in delicious dishes such as pasta (spaghetti and meatballs anyone?) or on their own as a meat dish with vegetables. Delicious either way – plus so incredibly easy to make, making them a perfect weeknight meal.
500g ground bison
1 tbs oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 tbs chopped garlic
1 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper to taste (try adding some smoked salt for a fun twist!)
Preheat the oven to 400F. In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together, so all the spices and the egg are evenly distributed throughout the meat. As bison is quite lean, we have included an egg as a binding agent to keep the meatballs together better – another alternative is to mix the bison with a ground meat with a higher fat content, like pork (pork has a more subtle flavour than beef, and will therefore not overpower the bison). Take the meat mixture and form it into small balls – about 1.5-2 inches in diameter (you can make them larger, it will just take longer to cook). Place them on a sheet of parchment paper to rest.
Once you have formed the meatballs and have no meat leftover, you have two options to cook. One, you do them on the stovetop in a pan on medium heat – rotating every 2-3 mins to help keep the shape of the ball and not burn on each side. Once each side is seared – you can either continue on the stove top (rotating frequently to prevent burning) or finish in the oven at 400F for 5-10 mins until the internal temperature reaches 160F.
The second option (and arguably easier) is to cook them in the oven at 400F. Bake for about 20 mins or until the internal temperature reaches 160F.
For both options, place on a paper towel lined plate once cooked to soak up any extra juices. Serve immediately.
Serves 2-4 (depending if more of a main meal or in pasta)