Appetites: Why you should add bison to your diet

Bison pot roast
Beth Dooley says bison pot roast takes very little time to assemble and cooks unattended in a slow cooker or an oven set to a low temperature.
Courtesy of Beth Dooley

When you think of bison, you probably think of the west and the Great Plains. But Minnesota ranks seventh in the nation when it comes to bison producers.

Beth Dooley, author of "In Winter's Kitchen," says there are numerous reasons to add bison to your diet.

"They are really lean. They don't have any fat because they get their warmth from that beautiful furry coat that they have, not from the interior marbling that cattle have," she says. "There's no cholesterol. There's no fat. They're lower in calories. And yet, they have that wonderful beefy taste."

Click the audio player above to hear about the history of bison, where to find it, what the cuts are and how to cook it.

Bison pot roast

Serves 6 to 8

This classic pot roast takes no time to assemble and cooks unattended in a slow cooker or oven set to a very low temperature.

Because bison is so very lean, you won't have to skim much fat off of the cooking juices that, when reduced, make a wonderful sauce.

Serve on polenta (as shown in the photo), or noodles or mashed potatoes to sop up all those lovely juices.

• 3 to 4 pounds bison chuck roast
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon of olive oil
• 1/2 cup of dry red wine
• 4 cups of beef or chicken stock
• 1/4 cup of tomato paste
• 2 stalks of celery cut into chunks
• 2 carrots, cut into chunks
• 1 medium yellow onion, cut into chunks
• 6 cloves of peeled garlic
• 2 to 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
• 5 sprigs of parsley
• Chopped parsley for garnish

Sprinkle the roast liberally with salt and pepper. Film a large heavy skillet with the oil and set over medium high heat.

Sear the meat on both sides about 5 to 8 minutes per side to create a good, firm crust. Remove the meat to the slow cooker. Whisk in the dry red wine, scraping the bottom of the skillet to remove the crusty bits on the bottom of the pan.

Pour this over the meat and then add in the stock, tomato paste, celery, carrots, onion, garlic and rosemary and parsley sprigs. Cover and cook until very, very tender, about 8 to 10 hours.

Remove the meat to a platter and cover to keep warm. Strain off and discard the vegetables and turn the juices into a medium saucepan.

Set the saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Slice the meat and serve with the sauce and garnish with chopped parsley.

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