I love bison meat. It’s leaner than beef. You could always substitute ground beef for the bison, but this gave the dish a gourmet feel and it tasted fantastic with the flavors I selected for the meatball appetizers I prepared.
I flavored the bison meatball appetizers with fermented beans, five-spice powder, wasabi paste and paired them with a spicy peanut, cilantro pesto with coconut, ginger and cilantro honey.
1. Info for Asian-Inspired Bison Meatball Appetizer Recipe
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 45 mins
- Servings: 24
- Calories: 36kcal
2. Ingredients for Asian-Inspired Bison Meatball Appetizer Recipe
- 1 pound ground bison
- 1 (14-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 2 cloves freshly grated garlic
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
- 1¼ teaspoons salt
- 1½ tablespoons fermented black bean garlic sauce
- 3 slices bread, cut into small cubes
- 1 (2-inch long) roasted jalapeno, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons coconut cream
- 2 limes, zested and freshly squeezed
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons cilantro honey (or any flavorful sweetener)
3.1 Prepping the meat
Pulse the black beans, fermented beans, ¼ cup cilantro and parsley in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely blended. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the ground bison, bread, ginger, 1 clove garlic, onions and five-spice powder. Mix well.
Combine the egg, wasabi, black pepper and salt. Beat the egg with a fork.
Add the egg mixture to the ground meat. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.
3.2 Checking the seasoning
In a small pan, heat about 1 teaspoon of canola oil. Add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture. Cook for about 2 minutes. Taste the meat. Adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper if necessary.
3.3 Pan-frying the meatballs
Grease disposable gloves with oil. Roll the mixture into 24 balls and place them on a tray lined with parchment paper. Chill them in the freezer for 20 minutes (this step will make cooking the meatballs much easier).
Remove the meatballs from the freezer. You can cook them right from the freezer.
Using the same non-stick frying pan, add more oil and pan-fry the meatballs until they’re slightly browned; flip them and brown the other side as well, for a total of 5 minutes. Carefully remove to a platter lined with paper towels.
3.4 For the pesto
Reserve a few honey-roasted peanuts.
Roughly chop ¼ cup cilantro. In a mini-food processor or mini-blender, combine the cilantro, remaining garlic, cilantro honey, roasted jalapeno and green bell peppers, peanuts, lime zest and 1 tablespoon lime juice. Pulse and slowly add olive oil until it becomes a coarsely-blended paste. Transfer to a small bowl. Add coconut cream extra richness. Season with salt and pepper.
Cover the top with more vegetable oil.
Cover a serving platter with the pesto. Top with the bison meatballs. Garnish with the reserved peanuts and sprigs of cilantro.
4. Tips and advices:
- For bison meat, the thermometer should register at least 130°F (I prefer 145°F, so the meat is less rosy). You can get a digital thermometer at IKEA for a reasonable price. Note: The IKEA brand thermometer has a magnet so I can stick it to the hood of my stove while pan-frying the meat.