By JeanMarie Brownson
Special to Tribune Newspapers
To celebrate warm summer days and easy entertaining here's a lean dish that's long on flavor. Bison, available at many supermarkets, is gaining in popularity for its rich, meaty flavor, nutrient density and lower fat content.
Ground bison also makes a terrific lean, yet juicy, burger or meatloaf.
For the kebabs, choose thick rib-eye bison steaks (the cuts are labeled the same as beef), and cut them into large uniform pieces. A generous sprinkle of salt, allowed to penetrate the cubes for an hour or more, enhances their flavor.
A simple " salsa" of tiny tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, chives and lots of golden garlic really gilds the lily. Warm wedges of rustic bread topped with fontina cheese make a great accompaniment.
Grilled bison kebabs with pine nut-chive salsa, spinach
Prep: 30 minutes
Marinate: 1 hour
Cook: 16 minutes
2 pounds boneless rib-eye bison steaks, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 cup dried currants
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large head garlic, separated into cloves, peeled, finely chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1 package (5 ounces) fresh spinach, rinsed, patted dry
1. Sprinkle steaks with salt in large glass bowl; toss to mix. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
2. Soak six or eight 12-inch-long wooden skewers in water 1 hour, or use metal skewers. Put currants into a small dish; add very hot water to barely cover. Let soak 10 minutes. Drain.
3. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in nonstick skillet over medium-low heat until warm. Add garlic. Simmer until garlic is barely golden, about 5 minutes. Add pine nuts; cook until nuts are golden, 3-4 minutes. Stir in drained currants, tomato halves, vinegar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and pepper. Remove from heat; stir in chives.
4. Prepare a grill for medium-hot heat. Rinse the bison; pat dry. Thread cubes onto the skewers (do not the pack the meat tightly together). Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Place the skewers over the hottest section of the grill; cook 1 minute. Turn; cook 1 minute. Move the skewers to a cooler portion of the grill; cook until medium-rare, about 6 minutes. Arrange the spinach on a large serving platter. Put the bison skewers on top. Spoon the pine nut salsa over the kebabs.
Per serving: 430 calories, 47% of calories from fat, 23 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 94 mg cholesterol, 21 g carbohydrates, 37 g protein, 658 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.
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