Bison is leaner than beef and may be a healthier choice if you’re looking to reduce your calorie or overall fat intake. It has nearly 25% fewer calories than beef and is lower in total fat as well as saturated fat. There is the same problem with bison as with beef, though. It is 80% of the time grain finished. It is extremely hard to find 100% grass fed and 100% grass finished bison. As always, read the labels carefully and ask the butcher. The meat is more delicate and soft than beef, even the leanest cuts won’t get too tough to eat. This is due to the high moisture content in the meat.
Venison is another red meat that is getting easier to find at the grocery stores. It is a super low fat red meat that can easily get too tough too fast. Keep the meat cooked medium rare or less to enjoy it without getting tough. If it is ground up and added to chili or a sauce, it will stay softer. The meat is one of the most heart healthy around. Venison tastes a little gamey, like more iron or earthy flavor than beef. Unfortunately, not all venison are grass fed and finished. Make certain to communicate with your seller to find out exactly what you are buying.
Lamb are always 100% grass fed and grass finished. Why? They refuse to eat grains. So whether you purchase the meat at a big box store or a smaller specialty meat store, you will enjoy 100% grass fed and 100% grass finished lamb, and non-GMO too. It is a sweet meat, and may take some getting used to on the palate. (I love it). Lamb is higher in fat than beef.
Red meat and its effects on health have been at the center of attention for many researchers for several decades. However, while some things are certain, science is still inconclusive about other areas. The most important thing to remember in any healthy eating lifestyle is that variety is key. Eat the rainbow, mix up your protein choices, and try new things. You may find a new favorite dish. Recipes shared below for your ease of meal ideas.
One Pot Meal Bison Recipe, courtesy of stetted.com:
- 1 pound ground bison
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2-3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup gluten free grain of choice
- 4 cups packed torn greens
- Balsamic vinegar, optional
- In a large pan, cook bison, onion, and garlic until bison is browned. Be sure to break up the pieces as you cook. Stir in salt, pepper, cumin to taste, and tomato paste.
- Stir in gluten free grain of choice, then add 2 cups chicken stock. Bring to a light boil, then cover and reduce heat. Let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more stock as needed to prevent sticking and allow grains to cook.
- Add the greens on top and cover again. Let cook for about 5 minutes. Stir greens through the dish and serve, with balsamic vinegar drizzled over the top, if desired.
Venison Stew recipe courtesy of missallieskitchen.com:
- 1 lb. venison, diced with all sinew removed – I used leg meat*
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 and 1/2 cups diced potatoes, I left the skin on (about 3 medium potatoes)
- 2 cups diced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp. herbs de Provence*
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1 15 0z. can diced tomatoes
- 4 cups unsalted beef stock
- 3–4 dashes gluten free Worcestershire sauce
- Dice the venison into bite-sized chunks, being sure to remove any of the silvery sinew tissue. Leaving this on makes the meat tough.
- Add the olive oil to a large pot or Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat.
- When the oil is hot, allow the venison to saute for 5-7 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Remove the venison from the pot and set aside.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add the potatoes, carrots, celery and onion. Allow the vegetables to saute for about 8-10 minutes, or until they begin to soften.
- Then, add the garlic, herbs de Provence, salt and pepper and cook for an additional minute before adding the tomatoes, broth and Worcestershire sauce. Then, add the venison back to the pot. Stir well and bring the stew to a boil.
- Once a boil is reached, turn the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid, and allow the stew to simmer for 1-2 hours until the venison is tender.
- Serve hot (it is amazing with crusty gluten free corn bread).
Lamb Shank recipe courtesy of epicurious.com:
- 6 lamb shanks (about 5 pounds total)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 3 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
- 10 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 750-ml bottle dry red wine
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with juices
- 1 14 1/2-ounce can low-salt chicken broth
- 1 14 1/2-ounce can beef broth
- 5 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
- Sprinkle shanks with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add shanks to pot and cook until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer shanks to bowl.
- Add onions, carrots and garlic to pot and sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in all remaining ingredients. Return shanks to pot, pressing down to submerge. Bring liquids to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; simmer until meat is tender, about 2 hours.
- Uncover pot; simmer until meat is very tender, about 30 minutes longer. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill until cold; cover and keep chilled. Rewarm over medium heat before continuing.) Transfer shanks to platter; tent with foil. Boil juices in pot until thickened, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon over shanks.
- Serve with rice and green beans.
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