On our dinner table growing up, the most unusual meat to be found was venison. (Which my sister and I never liked, not only because of its gamey flavor, but also because the thought of eating Bambi didn’t sit well with us.)
I know that’s probably crazy to some of you who eat a whole gamut of meat.
I have heard stories of eating rattlesnake and crocodile, and I have friends who grew up with chipmunk and squirrel. All I can say is that it takes a braver soul with a stronger stomach than I possess…as it is, I lean heavily toward vegetarian meals in general, but that’s just out of personal preference.
But I would like to be more adventurous with my eating, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen bison at the grocery store and passed it by, or have seen bison listed as an ingredient in a recipe and automatically changed it to beef in my mind. I was missing out because like I mentioned a while ago, when we finally tried bison, it was a huge hit all around.
This recipe is inspired by Greek flavors of garlic, lemon, and oregano. These flavorful meatballs are very tender thanks to the addition of milk-soaked bread, and they make a great appetizer or main course.
If you’re not sure whether or not you’ll like bison, this recipe is a great place to start!
- 2 slices (65 g) sandwich bread, torn small
- ½ cup (120 ml) milk
- 4 cups (950 ml) chunky-style marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought)
- 1-2 cups (235-475 ml) boiling water
- 1¾ lbs (795 g) ground bison meat
- 1 small-medium onion, grated
- 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1½ tablespoons minced fresh oregano
- 1½ teaspoons fresh lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Add the torn bread to a small bowl and top with the milk; let it soak for 10 minutes so the bread can absorb the liquid.
- Add the marinara sauce and 1 cup of water to a large saucepan over medium heat; cover the saucepan and bring to a simmer.
- Meanwhile, add the bread/milk mixture, meat, onion, garlic, egg, Worcestershire, oregano, lemon zest, salt, and black pepper and mix with your hands to combine, being careful not to over-mix.
- Roll the meat mixture into balls (I made mine about 1½ to 2 tablespoons each). Once all the balls are rolled, place them in the simmering sauce, adding more water as necessary to make sure all the meatballs are covered.
- Simmer the meatballs until fully cooked, about 20 minutes. (Don’t stir until toward the end, and when you do, be careful not to break up the meatballs.)
- Serve the meatballs as an appetizer, or tossed with pasta as a main course. You could also use them to make meatball sandwiches. (If you want to thicken up the sauce, remove the meatballs with a slotted spoon once they’re done cooking. Simmer the sauce uncovered until thickened, stirring frequently.)