Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Bison Carnitas Tacos

I’m the queen of grabbing random cuts of high quality meat when they go on sale, and stashing the meat in the deep freeze until I figure out what to do with it. My local grocery keeps organic bison in stock, but it doesn’t get marked down all that often. I was quite excited to nab two packages of bison stew meat, but I just didn’t know what to do with them. I love cooking bison, as it’s full of flavor, and much healthier than beef. Admittedly I’ve never cooked bison stew meat before! I suppose that like beef stew meat, it shines best when cooked slow & low. I never found any recipes specifically for bison stew meat that appealed enough to me, so I searched for beef stew meat recipes and found one for carnitas. We love tacos, so I hoped this would be good!

I did a few adaptions to the original recipe, and cooked this in my Le Crueset dutch oven. The meat turned out SO flavorful and juicy. Paired with a tasty margarita and combined with fresh taco toppings, this was quite the special meal! For toppings I did a fresh tomato/onion/avocado salsa, quick pickled red onion, cotija cheese, and fresh cilantro. I’m including the salsa recipe and you can find the quick pickled red onion recipe here.

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Bison Carnitas

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

CARNITAS:
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 pounds bison stew meat, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup less-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 large unpeeled orange wedge

QUICK SALSA:
2 cups chopped plum tomato (about 2 medium)
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup diced peeled avocado
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

FOR TACOS:
corn tortillas
quick pickled onion
1 lime cut into 8 pieces
cotija cheese
cilantro

Directions:

CARNITAS: Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add bison; sauté 5 minutes or until meat is browned on all sides. Stir in broth, sugar, salt & pepper, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and paprika; nestle orange section into bison mixture. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 ½ hours or until bison is tender. Remove and discard orange. Continue simmering, uncovered, 8 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring frequently. Shred meat.

SALSA: Combine tomato, onion, avocado, 2 Tbsp cilantro, 1 Tbsp lime juice, salt & pepper in a medium bowl; toss well.

TACOS ASSEMBLY: Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon 1/4 cup Bison Carnitas onto each tortilla; top each with pickled onion slices and about 3 tablespoons avocado salsa mixture. Fold in half; sprinkle with cotija cheese and fresh cilantro, serve with lime wedges.

Carnitas and Salsa recipes via Cooking Light

Supposedly this recipe yields 6 servings. However I got closer to 8. I even froze half of it after cooking by wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and putting it in a ziplock freezer bag.

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