Bison stew with acorn squash

By Christa Bruneau-Guenther
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All three of my children (now teens/ adults) have high metabolisms and need carbohydrates and protein to keep their energy and spirits up! As a health conscious mother with a garden, veggies and herbs are always plentiful. I’ve found hundreds of ways to incorporate them into fun kid friendly dishes! Serving this stew in the acorn as a bowl encouraged my children to want to eat it!

It’s true that when our children eat healthy meals it warms a mothers heart. It is also a show stopper for any dinner guests. We live in the city and access to venison or moose is rare, so Manitoba bison has been a go-to protein for years. Bison is also featured throughout the menu at my restaurant, it is a real treasure to watch customers try bison sometimes for the first time and love it. It is a heritage food that has a long history among our Indigenous communities; buffalo are survivors, they teach us resilience and strength.

The meat has an intense rich sweet flavour, is lean, has less fat and fewer calories than other meats plus more protein and iron. My family enjoys anything with bison and appreciate the fact they are humanely raised, breed naturally and are as close to wild game as you can get.

SERVES
4
 TO
6

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bison stew (chuck or round) OR elk OR moose OR beef cut in 1 inch pieces, add pinch salt & pepper & 4 tablespoons flour, toss to coat
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced (or 1 tablespoon garlic powder)
  • 1 green zucchini squash cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 10 mushrooms cut into chunks
  • 1 can beef consume 284 ml and 2.5 cups water or 1 box beef broth
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes 398ml
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 4 fresh sage leaves (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
  • 2-3 acorn squash cut in half remove seeds and flesh from middle (keep the seeds to roast and eat!)
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil (or traditional walnut oil or grapeseed oil)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 inch piece braided sweet grass (optional) OR 2 tablespoons maple syrup OR honey

Directions

  1. Pre heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Drizzle oil, big pinch salt and pepper into cavity of squashes place acorn squash cut side up into oven proof baking pans bake for 45 minutes- 1 hour (depending on size of squash), roast until fork inserts easily.
  3. Meanwhile, heat large pot to high, add 3 tablespoons oil to pot, then meat, sear three minutes on each side turning meat only once or twice, cook until brown on all sides. Add onion, celery, mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, rosemary, sage and garlic, cook two more minutes stirring together.
  4. Add beef consommé, tomatoes, water,sweet grass (if using) or honey bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 45-60 minutes, stirring every ten minutes OR if using an oven proof pot cook in oven along side squash. Meat should be tender and break apart easy.
  5. After 30 minutes add zucchini, cook remaining 30-40 minutes covered. If stew needs to be thickened make slurry with 3 tablespoons cold water and 1.5 tablespoons flour slowly pour into stew stirring constantly. Serve stew in acorn squash!
  6. Serve with bannock or whole grain bread!

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