Bison Meatloaf and Fiddlehead Ferns

Earlier in the week I threw a bison chuck roast into the fridge to defrost. I knew I didn’t want to just throw the hunk of meat into the crockpot and make a potroast — it would seem that I’m just not a big fan of the potroast. That and between The Hubbs & myself, I’m pretty sure that leftovers are getting to be pretty boring pretty quickly, lately. I wanted to hack up the roast into pieces and make my own ground bison to do with as I pleased. We’ve only got a few bags of ground bison leftover in the deep freeze and I know that my mom has always bought chuck roasts to make her own ground beef with and so I knew that I would be perfectly okay doing the same thing with the bison. The big question was more so: What am I gonna do with 4lbs of ground chuck once it’s ready to go?

Since it takes forever for things to defrost in our fridge, it gave me a few days to think about it. I knew I wanted to make some meatballs to freeze for a later date because they make for a really easy meal that I don’t have to think about, but that would only take up a pound or so of meat. Then I thought that some bison burgers stuffed with blue cheese would be a fantastic idea. We haven’t had homemade burgers in forever and The Hubbs is especially fond of the blue cheese middles, so I bought some yesterday while I was out and about doing errands on my own. (Right now The Hubbs has the plague and isn’t up to driving anywhere because the changes in elevation just make him miserable, plus it’s been incredibly windy the last few days which is never a good thing when you have a cold/flu.)

Then I realized that what would be really fantastic for dinner along with the package of fiddleheads(!) I found at the grocery store yesterday, would be meatloaf. So I scrapped the burger idea (even though I did buy the blue cheese and some buns) and decided that I shall make a meatloaf filled with bacon, some softened onions and use the now stale-ish bacon cake for breadcrumbs. Seems like a good plan for Sunday dinner: Bison meatloaf, fiddleheads with butter and some mashed potatoes.

Backtracking for a moment — I can’t believe that I actually found fiddleheads at the grocery store! I thought they were one of those things that you’d only ever find in some upscale market NOT in Calgary! I’ve never had them before, but I’ve always wanted to try them and figured that this would probably be my only opportunity to do so. I was pretty pleased with my find and am hoping that they taste good. I certainly don’t see them tasting bad… Well, okay, there is the off chance it could taste absolutely terrible like that time I bought white asparagus for the first time and they were the most horribly bitter vegetable that I had ever had in my life, even more so than Chinese bitter melon! That’s pretty harsh. I had to throw the whole batch out, it was such a disappointment. I’m hoping the fiddleheads don’t suffer from the same fate.

Anyhow, plans for the fiddleheads will probably be just boil them, then toss them with some butter, salt and pepper. Seems to be that the simplest method of cooking is generally deemed to be the best way of serving and enjoying them. I could fry them with some butter and garlic, but I don’t really feel like doing any more knife work today. I’m feeling pretty tired still and am Moosed up. The weather’s changed considerably since yesterday — no more sun, very overcast, still quite windy and kind of on the chilly side. I think a traditional Sunday dinner will be a good boost for The Hubbs. At least, I’m hoping so, even though his tastebuds are kind of shot at the moment.

Thinking about it, I’ve been making a lot of meatballs, but not meatloaves. There isn’t really all that much difference between a loaf and a ball, recipe-wise for me, but I did find a recipe that sounded decent enough. The only thing is that for the two of us, any recipe calling for two pounds of ground meat, plus all the filler ingredients, is going to be incredibly huge. So I’ve decided to make the whole recipe, but shape the mixture into two meatloaves. One to eat tonight and one to freeze for later. Seems like I’m all about “make & freeze now/eat later”, today.

Grinding down four pounds of meat doesn’t take that long — the problem is keeping the consistency the same as you go through the meat. I noticed while I was forming the meatballs (after I had mixed together the meatloaf) that there were some chunks of meat that could have used a bit more processing. Over processing the meat wasn’t really likely to happen, but that could be because I’m used to doing it with beef and know approximately how many pulses it takes to make a decent texture. Thing is, because I’m all Moosed up, I’m a little scatterbrained and so some of the meat is actually under processed. Oh well. I’m not too bothered.

The recipe for the bison loaf is hopefully going to taste good. The biggest thing I’m scared of is that it will be dry — I’m not worried about it being tasteless because there’s all sorts of tasty stuff going on, but the dryness is a concern for me since bison is quite lean. I did change up the recipe slightly from the original that I found here because it calls for mushrooms. As for breadcrumbs, I just blitzed up most of what remained of the bacon cake from last week since it was kind of going stale. I hear that the best breadcrumbs are made from “real bread”, therefore bacon cake can only make for AWESOME breadcrumbs, in my opinion ;D

Bison Meatloaf

1 onion, blitzed
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 slices of thick-cut bacon, diced
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup breadcrumb
2 lbs ground bison
salt, pepper
For the Glaze:
3 Tbsp ketchup
3 Tbsp brown sugar

In a frying pan, fry together the bacon, onions and garlic until cooked through and soft. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients with the bacon & onions, except bison, and mix well.
Add bison to the bowl and mix gently until combined. Do not overmix.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Divide meatloaf mixture and form into 2 loaf shapes, place on parchment lined cookie sheet.
Mix together glaze ingredients and spread half of the mixture onto each meatloaf.
Bake for 1 hour.

Fiddleheads with Butter

1lb fiddlehead ferns
butter
salt, pepper

Trim the base of the ferns, leaving only a tiny tail beyond the circumference of each Fiddlehead.
Rub off any remaining furry brown covering.
Rinse under running water.
Drop ferns into a large pot of boiling salted water and boil for about 10-15 minutes or until tender.
Serve piping hot with melted butter.

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