A Healthy Twist on a French Classic

I find bison a better alternative to beef, because bison are grass-fed and industry standards don’t allow the use of hormones or routine antibiotics, which are often given as growth promoters to cattle.

Meatballs are usually associated with spaghetti sauce, but this recipe takes them to another level, rich, hearty and satisfying.

My daughter eats just about everything, but she balked at the wine sauce, so here are two options to make it child friendly:

– Omit the brandy and replace 1 cup of wine with another cup of beef broth for a total of 2 cups of broth. It tastes much lighter. Some adults might prefer it this way too.

– Reserve some of the baked meatballs and serve them to children without the sauce.

My favorite way to serve this is with rice, but is also pairs nicely with roasted potatoes, or even noodles with poppy seeds in a goulash-like style.

Bison Meatball Bourguignon
Print Recipe
4 - 6
4 - 6
Bison Meatball Bourguignon
Print Recipe
4 - 6
4 - 6
  • 3/4 cup oats old-fashioned
  • 1 1/2 pounds bison ground
  • 2 eggs large, beaten
  • 1/4 cup red onion finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parsley fresh, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons thyme optional, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt kosher
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper coarsely ground
Bourguignon sauce
Adjust servings:
  1. To make the meatballs, mix all the meatball ingredients—oats, ground bison, eggs, onion, parsley, salt, and pepper and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 4 hours.
  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°F. Lightly oil a metal roasting pan.
  3. Using your wet hands rinsed under cold water, shape the meat mixture into 18 equal meatballs. Arrange in the roasting pan and bake until lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Transfer the meatballs to a plate.
  5. Meanwhile, start the sauce. Heat canola oil and butter in large saucepan over medium heat and add the mushroom and onion. Stir occasionally, until browned, about 7–8 minutes. Stir in the carrot. Sprinkle with the flour and stir well. Stir in broth, wine, brandy, tomato paste, and thyme and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, reduce to low heat and simmer until lightly thickened, about 10 minutes, checking periodically to make sure it does not dry. Add a couple of tablespoons of water if needed.
  6. Return the meatballs to saucepan and cook another 10–15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve hot, sprinkled with parsley.
Recipe Notes
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