Experimenting With Wild Game

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Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 11.23.14 AMFall is such a fun time of year! Aside from the beautiful colors and new crispness in the air, it’s the season when warm comfort foods come back into favor. My favorites are chili, beef stew and other hearty meat dishes that warm you from the inside.

This season I’ve been experimenting with wild game, like venison and bison. Actually, I’ve cooked with venison for many years now. My family loves it. It’s easy to substitute ground beef with venison in things like chili and taco meat. Venison stew is also wonderful, loaded with a bunch of fall vegetables full of rich flavors.

This is the first year I’ve used bison (buffalo), though.

BENEFITS OF GAME MEAT

Game meat appeals to me because of its health benefits. The animals roam in their natural environment, eating food that they would naturally eat. Some of the benefits of wild game meat are*:

  • It’s some of the leanest meat you’ll find.
  • Game meat has a better ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids. While both Omega 6 and Omega 3 are essential fats (we must consume them via our diet), we need a greater amount of Omega 3 fatty acids than Omega 6 fatty acids.
  • It’s high in protein, iron and zinc
  • The animal has never been crowded on a factory farm, treated inhumanely, loaded with drugs and hormones or fed an unnatural diet. The meat is the textbook definition of organic in every way.

There are also notable environmental and sustainability benefits to choosing wild game.

WHERE TO BUY GAME MEAT

The sometimes tricky part of cooking with wild game is getting it. You generally can’t buy it at common grocery stores. Here are some sources I’ve found:

  • Coscto and Whole Foods sell bison
  • Broken Arrow Ranch sells a variety of wild game: bison, venison, boar, quail… You can order online from them.
  • For fresh venison, you usually have to know a hunter or go to a meat processing store during hunting season. A Google search for meat processing in your area should turn up a couple.
  • One of my favorite meat processing stores is Jerome Country Market. It’s about an hour southwest of Ann Arbor so they might be quite a drive for some of you.

A BISON RECIPE FOR YOU

I picked up some bison steaks from Jerome Country Market last weekend, and since pomegranate and cranberries are coming into season, I decided to make a sauce with them to top the steaks. Generally, a sauce like this is thought of as a pairing for poultry, like quail, duck or turkey, but the tart, holiday-spice flavor is also great for toning down the wild taste of game meat.

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Ingredients:

  • Bison steaks
  • Seasonings for steak – I used a gourmet salt infused w/matcha that I found at a local market, salt and pepper
  • 1 c. Cranberries
  • ½ c. Water
  • 2 Pomegranates
  • ½ tbsp. Whole Cloves (or ½ tsp. ground cloves as substitute)
  • ½ tsp. Cumin

Add the water and cranberries to a sauce pan and bring to boil. Turn heat down to med/low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. The cranberries will quickly burst open and begin to turn into a thick sauce.

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While the cranberries are simmering, cut the pomegranates in half and squeeze the juice into a bowl (like squeezing a lemon). The seeds and some pulp will fall into the bowl too.

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Strain the seeds into a bowl to remove the seeds and pulp.
Strain the seeds into a bowl to remove the seeds and pulp.

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Once the cranberries have thickened add the pomegranate juice, cloves and cumin. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes. The sauce will end up thick with chunks of cranberries still remaining.
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While the sauce is cooking, prepare the steaks. Usually, with game meat, you don’t need to add much oil or other fat to the cooking. For these steaks, I added just a tad (maybe a teaspoon) of Kerrygold butter and brushed it over the bottom of the pan after it melted. Sprinkle the steaks with your seasonings to taste – good ones to use are salt, pepper, coriander, ginger, garlic salt, or others with a bold, strong flavor.
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Pan fry the steaks over medium heat until desired doneness, flipping frequently. I removed mine from the pan when they were at about 145 degrees in the middle.
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When steaks are done, plate, cut into serving size pieces and top with sauce!

I hope you enjoy this recipe! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments 🙂

If you want to see more, check out my own personal fitness blog!

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-Wendy

www.strengthineight.com

 

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