Bison Ragu with Eggplant

I created this recipe because I was craving a meaty, umami-rich red sauce. I absolutely love pasta sauce, and when I first went paleo, I definitely missed pasta too. But it’s been years since I craved pasta, but I often crave red pasta sauce. This sauce recipe is rich, filling and tomato-y, without any guilt. Bison is one of my favorite meats because of how sustainable it is, and it’s super nutrient dense.

Frying the eggplant with an eggwash helps keep it firm and allows it to develop more flavor and color. I used a mixture of different mushrooms in this recipe, including king, oyster, and shiitake. If you are having a hard time finding different mushrooms, try an Asian grocer or a farmer’s market.

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Bison Ragu with Eggplant

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Nutrition per portion

Ingredients
  • 2 large globe eggplants
  • Sea Salt
  • 1 lb ground bison meat
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 lb sliced mushrooms (use a variety, cremini, shiitake, king, oyster, etc.)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • Fresh herbs for garnish
Method
  1. Slice the eggplant lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick slices. Sprinkle each slice with a pinch of salt and lay on a clean kitchen towel to drain off some of the juices.
  2. Salt the ground bison with 1 teaspoon salt.
  3. In a large dutch oven over medium heat, add the olive oil and saute the onions for 4-6 minutes or until translucent.
  4. Add the chopped mushrooms and continue cooking for 10-12 minutes or until the mushrooms have softened and begin to turn a deeper brown color.
  5. Add the crushed garlic and cook for a minute or two.
  6. Remove everything from the pot and set aside. Keep the heat at medium high, add a drizzle of olive oil, and when the oil begins to shimmer, drop half the ground bison meat into the pot. Let it sit undisturbed for 3-5 minutes, or until a nice crust develops. Gently stir, and continue browning the meat.
  7. Once half of the bison meat is browned, add the tomato paste and stir, while cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, onions, mushrooms, garlic, and the remaining bison meat. Stir in the dried parsley, oregano, basil, and pepper.
  8. Bring the sauce up to a gentle simmer and cook for 45 minutes, breaking up the bison meat by crushing it against the back of a wooden spoon and the pot sides.
  9. While the sauce is cooking, begin prepping the eggplant. Pat the eggplant dry with a clean kitchen towel.
  10. Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a large fry pan over medium heat.
  11. Prepare an egg wash by breaking the eggs onto a plate and whisk with a fork. Dunk both sides of the eggplant slices into the egg wash, allow some of the wash to drip off, and then lay flat into the hot fry pan. Allow to cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until browned.
  12. Continue frying the eggplant slices, and stack the cooked ones on a warm plate with paper towels sandwiched between them to keep them crispy.
  13. When ready to serve, place a slice or two of eggplant on a plate, top with lots of sauce, some fresh parsley, and parmesan cheese!

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