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The other red meat

A simple, hearty sauce over ziti.

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I’ve been a fan of bison ever since restaurants started serving the no-longer-endangered beasts, but shied away from cooking it at home. My few tries had been disappointing, due to bison’s leanness (2.42 grams of fat compared to 18.54 in 3.5 oz. of choice beef). While that makes for a welcome nutritional profile (bison is also higher in iron and lower in cholesterol than beef), the lack of lubrication means it’s easier to end up with rubbery, dry meat.

All that changed when my husband brought home a pound of ground bison from our local supermarket (I think he was taken with the cute label). Going right to the source, I found a wealth of cooking tips on the National Bison Association’s Web site. The advice that worked for me: cook ground bison with diced vegetables, which add moisture. I sautéed diced onion, celery, carrot, and minced garlic, added the bison to brown, and then poured in a can of diced tomatoes along with their juice. A toss of cumin and cinnamon complemented bison’s slightly sweet flavor, and I ended up with a robust meat sauce to top ziti, juicy and full of flavor.

I’m ready to try more. Any good bison recipes you’re willing to share?

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