JEFF TIEDEMAN: Big game playbookDeer, elk, bison offer tasty eating.
This is big game season.
Sports fans know what I mean. It’s the beginning of tournament time, when every game is do-or-die. College basketball’s March Madness is just around the corner. In a month, conference playoffs for Division I hockey teams begin. And before all of that, high school tourneys (in almost all winter sports) will have been played in Minnesota and North Dakota.
Even my hometown, Crookston, is caught up in the tourney hoopla this year. The Pirate girls high school hockey team will be playing the Warroad Warriors for the Minnesota Section 8 Class A championship Thursday night for the right to go to state.
But for some other people who don’t follow athletics, this also is big game season. I’m talking about those who hunt. This is the time of year when we go to the freezer a couple of times a week to grab an elk or venison roast, some steak or chops or ground meat.
I’ve hunted deer and elk over the years and have purchased a lot of farm-raised bison, so preparing big game is second nature to me. In fact, most of our favorite meals with meat contain big game.
I love to throw a roast seasoned with some salt, pepper and Old Bay seasoning in the Dutch oven along with a few potatoes, carrots, onion and a little red wine. And the Swiss steak I make — with steak, chops or back straps — rates right up there, too, with my family. (See recipes at www.grandforksherald.com/ event/ tag/group/Life/tag/food/.)
Another thing I like to prepare with big game is chili. Just recently, I combined some browned ground venison and bison in a pot of chili on Super Bowl Sunday. (I rarely use ground beef in my chili.)
These days, you don’t have to be a hunter to enjoy big game. There are many places where you can buy farm-raised meat. For example, right here in Grand Forks you can purchase bison at L&M Meats on South Washington Street or Siouxland Buffalo just west of town on County Road 5. There are even places within driving distance where you can get elk.
As far as venison, I’m not aware of any farmed-raised operations in the area, so about the only option is the Internet. (Almost all of the venison sold in American restaurants and stores is farm-raised in New Zealand, although a deer farming industry is slowly growing in the United States as well.)
Nutritionally, bison, elk and venison all are appreciably low in fat, cholesterol and calories. For example, ground bison contains 2.42 grams of fat, 82 milligrams of cholesterol and 142 calories. Compare this with ground sirloin at 18.54 grams of fat, 87 milligrams of cholesterol and 283 calories.
There’s no losing when you eat big game.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at email@example.com.