Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Friday, December 02, 2005

Bison stuffed acorn squash

Acorn squash stuffed with ground bison, dried cranberries, and pine nuts

Some days you stare at the meat shelves and think, chicken or beef, chicken or beef -- what else is there? Ground bison. It tastes a lot like beef, with a slightly gamey flavor, though not as gamey as wild venison or pheasant.

I browned about a pound of bison in olive oil with some grated garlic, salted it, and then tossed with the dried cranberries, pine nuts, marjoram, and some pepper. Then I sliced two acorn squashes in half, put a couple pats of butter in each, and covered in foil to bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. When I took them out they were getting soft.

I illed the squash with the bison mixture, raising the walls with tin foil since I had a little too much stuffing. I also added a few star anise, a flavor that harmonizes well with marjoram. Then I baked for another ten minutes, uncovered the squash, topped with grated jack cheese, and baked five more minutes just for the cheese to melt.

The proportions were a little off with this dish, there being far more stuffing than squash. It's akin to having extra frosting on your cupcake, which is no great tragedy in my book. But if a proper balance between stuffing and squash is your preference you would do well to add one more acorn squash. And it would probably benefit from being served with some crusty bread. I could have added breadcrumbs to the stuffing, but I didn't want to.

Beyond the proportion issue it was a tasty winter's dinner. I thought the slight peculiarity of bison went well with the licorice taste of the anise. I was worried that it was too subtle, but Lane picked up on it. I think if you use it sparingly anise is experienced almost entirely through aroma, more so anyway than through just taste (though I know the two are tied). The pine nuts add a little mildness and the chewy, sweet dried cranberries add some extra zing and color.

The photo of the squashes shows how they looked while I was adding the stuffing. And I've included a photo of the filthy Santa pillow I referred to the other day. Doesn't he make you feel cozy and...dusty?


Anonymous said...

I know what you mean about dusty pillows. I inherited some ancient down pillows from my mom when she moved, and I don't think they'd ever been washed. I washed and dried them about four times (having to empty the lint filter multiple times for each dryer cycle--big sheets of dust would just roll off as I pulled it out--ew) before I thought they were clean enough to offer to houseguests. I can't imagine how many generations of dust mites had made them their abode.

Co said...

I know the "chicken or beef" dilemma well. I feel like that's all I cook most of the time. Occasionally tofu or seitan but I was previously a soy-maniac, so I try not to overdo it.

Hmm... bison...