Week 3: The Other Dark Meat

1 lb. of frozen ground bison

Have you ever eaten bison (aka buffalo)? I never had before my partner introduced it to me. I resisted for a long time, particularly because I was eating vegetarian at the time, but eventually succumbed to this delicious recipe. Yes, these enchiladas are so good that they brought me back from being vegetarian.

Incidentally, bison has less calories, fat and cholesterol than chicken, beef and pork and is also high in B vitamins, iron, and protein. So, not a bad meat to eat occasionally. It doesn’t taste very gamey, but is actually like a more flavorful version of beef. It can be found typically in the frozen meat section and runs around $6-7/lb where I live.

These enchiladas are a staple in our household, and Russ prepares them at least once a month. They also make wonderful leftovers and you can usually find me eating them at work during the lunch hour.

Bison Enchiladas

This recipe was created by our contributor Russ. You can read about him on the “About” page.

Makes around 6-8 enchiladas, depending on how much meat you put in each one

Prep & cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Bake time: 45 minutes

  • 1 batch of enchilada sauce, recipe below
  • 1/2 pound of white cheddar
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and veined
  • 1 lb. ground bison (thawed if frozen)
  • 2 1/2 T ground cumin
  • 1/2 T chili powder (or cayenne pepper – only if you want an extra kick!)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6-8 Micaela’s tortillas* at room temperature or warmed up slightly (to prevent breakage when you fold them)

For the sauce:

  • 2 12-oz. cans of tomatillos (or fresh if they’re in season!)
  • 1 medium jalapeño, seeded and veined
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (around 1/2 bunch if you buy it from a grocery store)
  • 1 small shallot, roughly chopped
  • 2 T of olive oil
  • 2 splashes of Tapatío or other hot sauce (optional)
  • Kosher salt to taste

(If you don’t have access to these ingredients or are low on time, 1 can of verde enchilada sauce will work as well.)

Enchilada verde sauce

For the sauce:

Combine all ingredients and blend with a hand blender, food processor or blender until smooth. Easy, right? And much better than canned!

For the enchiladas:

Pre-heat oven to 350°. Pour 1/4 sauce into the bottom of a large casserole pan, coating the bottom so the enchiladas don’t stick. Grate cheese by hand or in a food processor with a grating attachment and set aside.

and spread it evenly over the bottom

Pour sauce into casserole dish

Heat up a large skillet with 2-3 T of olive oil. Saute the onion, garlic and jalapeño until the onion turns translucent. Add the bison meat, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper to the skillet, mixing all ingredients together. Stir frequently until the meat is browned. Once it’s done, let the meat cool slightly.

then add around this much meat

Place this much cheese

To ensemble an enchilada, place a thin line of cheese across the middle of a tortilla. Put around 1/3 cup of the meat on top of the cheese (see picture).

1. Fold the bottom half of the tortilla away from you

2. Tuck the tortilla flap under

Place tortilla on a flat surface and

fold the bottom half away from you.

Tuck the tortilla under and roll it away from you

until it is completely rolled up.

3. Roll the tortilla away from you

Enchiladas ready to go in the oven!

Place rolled enchiladas into the casserole dish as pictured. Pour the remaining sauce evenly over the enchiladas, making sure to coat all parts of the tortillas.

Cover the pan loosely before baking

Sprinkle cheese evenly over the enchiladas and cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil.

Bake in oven for around 45 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbling, and voilà! Easy, homemade enchiladas that are slightly healthier and way more delicious than store-bought or in a restaurant.

Finished enchiladas, just before they were devoured

*Micaela’s Original Recipe California Fresh are amazing locally-made fresh tortillas. If you don’t have an abuela making you homemade torts, this is as close as it’s going to get. As far as I know, they are only available in the greater Sacramento area at Nugget Markets, local food co-ops, and the Woodland Costco. If you ever see them, scoop up as many as you can handle. You won’t regret it!
Note: Whole wheat tortillas are used in this recipe, but regular are just fine as well.

5 Comments on Week 3: The Other Dark Meat

  1. Dubs
    January 17, 2010 at 2:41 pm (12 years ago)

    Not gonna lie, when I saw your Twitter, I thought you making buffalo-chicken enchiladas, like with the buffalo seasoning they put on wings. I love buffalo, not sure I could eat it but those sure look good!

    • Stephanie
      January 17, 2010 at 2:45 pm (12 years ago)

      haha next time you’re in town I’m going to make them and you have to try just a bite. I swear they’re delicious!

    • Stephanie
      January 17, 2010 at 9:49 pm (12 years ago)

      I read your comment more carefully and I realized it sounds like you may be saying you’re not sure you could eat buffalo because you like them. I know what you mean (I will never ever eat rabbit meat) but if it makes you feel better, I only eat meat that’s humanely and sustainably raised.

    January 25, 2010 at 7:24 pm (12 years ago)


    • Stephanie
      January 25, 2010 at 8:15 pm (12 years ago)

      Thanks Jill! Using kumquats is a great idea!

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