Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bison Lasagna

Yes, we're on a bison kick over here. Trying not to eat the mass-produced, CAFO-grown beef is really tough, especially if you're on a budget. Every Saturday (ok, it's been twice), we've been going to the community market here in Lynchburg to get eggs and bread and bison since that's the only beef-ish thing they've been selling of late. If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it! We're starting to prefer it as a substitute in recipes that call for ground beef.

Making lasagna has been a wonderful stress reliever (if the baby is cooperating and the dog has been fed). I feel the same way about layer cakes. When you're done you have a sense that you built something; you gave it a sound structure and put yourself into the design of it.

The day that led up to making the lasagna was full of little anxieties--a baby with diaper rash, a dog suffering from lack of attention, trips into town and back, upcoming first birthday plans, general mood swings from all living beings in the house--enough to throw a person off kilter.

There is a corner between the stove top and counter top that I inhabit. This is where I live. This is where I throw the day's frustrations into soup bowls and pots and pans and beat them out with rolling pins. Where I stir and whip and even daydream; where I coax egg whites into fluff and butter into sauce.

This is where, on Saturday, I lifted soaked lasagna noodles from their water and patted them dry and layered them with cheese and meat sauce in a red casserole dish. Where I experimented with bison meat and herbs and ricotta. This is where the day came back together.

I like Martha's recipe for lasagna, and I use it as a guide. Already having sauce on hand, I didn't make the sauce called for (though I have in the past and it's great). I also don't like ricotta cheese as a general rule, but I add a little bit to the layers of pasta, smearing it on before I add the sauce so that there are no big dollops. It makes the strata less dense. Because I browned the bison instead of sausage, I added some dried Italian herbs. I also needed an extra noodle per layer (maybe I had short noodles?)

The whole thing turned out pretty well and somehow healed us all of the day's turmoil.


  1. M'mmmmmmmmmmmm, looks yummy. Bison -- does it taste much different than beef?

  2. Bison tastes leaner (less grease), but it is still juicy. My husband and I have agreed that it tastes a little sweeter than beef. I would also use "rich" to describe it. Apparently Bison is a lot healthier than beef and has less calories. Try it if you can find it!