My local Metro has stepped up in all areas from produce and vinegars to adding new meat products like from our local Beretta Farms. I also get to swipe my AirMiles card at Metro for points.
With all these winter storms, I was feeling chili. I mean I was craving the heat and smoky comfort of chili . Last week, at Metro, I picked up Beretta Farms Ground Bison for a change of pace and I was not disappointed.
I was delighted to speak with Beretta directly about the husbandry of their Bison and to get an inside track on how to prepare it. What appeals to me about Beretta is their focus on raising animals that are grass fed, and mature slowly without stress and without the use of antibiotics or hormones, ever.
While Ontario is the largest market for beef, the majority of producers ranch out West. Beretta Bison are also raised on the grasslands of Alberta, my home province and where I spent many a happy day on my Uncle’s ranch.
A grass fed animal tastes very different than corn or grain fed. You eat a steak in Calgary and compare it to a steak in Ontario and, regardless of the cut, the grass makes a difference. Beretta bison are mostly grass fed with a finish of grain.
Plains bison co-evolved with the grassland biome and survive as a wild species. Bison have a lower metabolic rate and well-muscled head for clearing snow, so they are less stressed during winter. Even in the summer cattle gravitate towards wooded shade, making bison better at year round foraging.
Bison are also naturally low in fat and cholesterol, but high in protein, vitamin and minerals. The lower fat content means watching for overcooking, but I didn’t notice any difference when cooking the ground Bison.
I also asked my Tweeps about wine pairings for bison. Thanks to Shelley Nelson of Waterloo and the Wine Ladies, Georgia and Susanne, I opened a Henry of Pelham Baco Noir and an Argentinian Malbec, and both were perfect recommendations for my spicy version of bison chili.
Bison Chili Ingredients
Sweet Yellow Onions – one medium to large chopped
Minced Garlic – two cloves
Cumin – a titch
Hot Spanish Paprika – 1/2 teaspoon
Chili Flakes – in our house liberal (I used Pequin Chili this time because it has a nice smoky heat]
Salt – sprinkling
Bison Ground Beretta Farms – around 1 pound * I also threw in small piece left over beef tenderloin
tomato sauce – one plus one-half jars of preferably organic sauce
tomatoes – diced – 1 can
red wine – anything, a splash
maple syrup – a touch, I’m loving Maddington’s Maple Syrup
corn kiblets – 1 cup thawed from frozen Green Organic*
*ideally fresh, but hey we live in Canada so this product is grown in China, I look for organic, gluten free processing that is handpicked and flash frozen
white kidney beans – one can organic
Saute the onions in oil.
Add and cook Bison.
Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes.
Simmer and re-check seasoning.
Simmer and re-check seasoning.
Serve with corn chips or dark bread. For me, I buy “Pumpernickel” bread from Voilá Gluten Free Bakeree in Oakville **the best ever!
Great Plains Research: A Journal of Natural and Social Sciences, 10-1-1999-Comparative Ecology of Bison and Cattle on Mixed Grass Prairie, Steuter and Hidinger