I’ve become a big fan of bison over the past few months. I had read a lot about it and heard that it’s a great source of lean protein, but I worried about it being tough or tasting too “gamey.” I first tried ground bison, and since my first attempt at bison burgers I’ve not bought ground beef again. They are wonderful, flavorful and juicy, even seasoned with just a little salt and pepper.
Tonight I tried my first bison roast and was very pleased with the results. For my first attempt, I kept it simple – I seasoned the bison with a blend of salt, pepper, oregano, and granulated garlic, seared it in a dutch oven, then added some red wine, beer and local root vegetables. I covered the dutch oven and then just let it roast in the oven. I cooked it for almost two hours, which resulted in a very tender roast but was more well-done than I normally prefer. Next time, I’ll keep a better eye on the temperature and cook it for less time (between 60 and 90 minutes for a 2.5 pound roast). I like gravy with my meat, so I thickened the cooking liquid with flour when I was done. There was very little “active time” involved in preparing this – less than 20 minutes – which makes it a perfect weekend dinner.
The biggest issue can be finding bison – I’ve had good luck finding several cuts in the meat counter at Whole Foods. They usually carry ground bison, flank steak, stew meat and a shoulder roast (which is what I used here). None of the measurements below are exact – and the recipe can be easily adjusted according to your taste. Play with the vegetables (next time I’ll probably add sweet potatoes, onions, parsnips, and beets), and the seasonings that you use – I think it would be hard to mess this up.
To begin, combine the seasonings of your choice in a small bowl. I used equal proportions of:
- granulated garlic (you can use garlic powder if you like, but I prefer granulated garlic when I can find it)
- 2.5 pound bison roast (I used a bison shoulder roast)Press the spice mixture all over the roast.
In a large dutch oven (not pre-heated) place:
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- bison roast, coated with the spice mixture
Put the dutch oven over medium-high heat and sear for about 5 minutes. Turn the roast and sear for another 5 minutes. Take off-heat, and add:
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 cup beer (I used a dark ale)
- root vegetables of your choice. I used a variety of local root vegetables including: potatoes (peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes), carrots, cut lengthwise in half, and turnips (cut into half and then into 1/2-inch half-rounds)
Cover with a tight-fitting lid and place in oven, pre-heated to 350-degrees. Cook until it’s reached your preferred level of doneness (about 150 degrees for medium). I cooked it for almost two hours and it was very well done. I’d suggest checking after an hour or so, depending on the size of your roast.
When done, remove the meat and vegetables to a plate and tent with foil. Put the dutch oven with cooking liquid on stove over medium-high heat. Combine in a bowl until smooth:
- several tablespoons of flour
- enough water to form a smooth liquid
Gradually add the flour mixture to the cooking liquid, and cook over a low boil until thickened. You may not need all of the flour mixture – just add and cook until the gravy is as thick as you desire.