Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bison Meatballs with Garam Masala

Bison Meatballs with Garam Masala

One very popular low-fat, high-flavor substitute for ground meats like beef and lamb is ground buffalo. In Colorado, we are very fortunate to be exposed to buffalo and most if not all the grocery stores. People outside of Colorado, with the exception of Montana and Wyoming, are a usually a bit surprised that buffalo/bison meat is a great way to get your daily dose of low-fat protein and iron.

This recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe for Lamb Koftas. It's simple, quick and contains one of my favorite spice combinations - Garam Masala. The Garam Masala I used is from the Savory Spice Shop on 15th and Platte in Denver. If you don't have this spice in your cabinet here is a quick recipe:

2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds

2 tablespoons cardamom seeds
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 (3-inch) stick cinnamon, broken up
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon grated whole nutmeg


Put the cumin, coriander, cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, and cloves in a dry heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Toast the spices, stirring occasionally, until they turn several shades darker and give off a sweet smoky aroma, about 10 minutes. Cool completely.

Working in batches if necessary, transfer the mixture to a spice mill or coffee grinder and grind to a powder. Stir in the nutmeg. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

I serve the meatballs with Fage Greek Yogurt. I have recently discovered this stuff and I am highly addicted to it. I've been making these meatballs for a few years and before I discovered the Greek Yogurt I was just dipping them in dijon mustard, another one of my condiment addictions.....

There are a few different ways to make/serve these meatballs. Either you can make them like patties and eat them with the recommended dips or if you have some pita pockets, make the meatballs a bit smaller and put them in the pockets with the greek yogurt.

Bison Meatballs

  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 1 piece (1 inch) peeled fresh ginger, sliced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (or mint)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon Coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 12 ounces ground buffalo
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • Fage Greek Yogurt
  • 6 pita pockets
Put the garlic, ginger and onion in a food processor and pulse until chopped. Add the parsley or mint, garam masala, salt and pepper. Process until everything is combines, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the egg and buffalo and process until fully combined. Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls and flatten into patties.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil. When hot add the meatballs in batches - approximately 4 at a time. Cook 3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towel lined plate to drain.

Insert toothpicks into each meatball if not using the pita. Or stuff 2 meatballs in a pita pocket top with yogurt and enjoy.

Makes 16 meatballs.

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