Spicy Bison Stir Fry

Stir Fry It may be hard to imagine that anything fried in hot oil could be classified at "light," but cooked properly, stir fry may fit that description.  Stir fry contains all kinds of healthy vegetables (from broccoli to squash) and it's one of the few dishes where the nutritional value hasn't been cooked right out of the food.  For those of you who  would rather swim a crocodile infested river that eat red meat, keep in mind that the meat in this dish is bison.  Meaning it's lower in fat and cholesterol than chicken breast or salmon and nearly as high in iron as liver.  Yes, this is one healthy meal, despite a little oil. Ingredients: Bison     You can use whatever you have.  Sirloin is going to be the leanest, and if you slice it thin and don't over-cook it, it will be delightful.  On the other hand, if you're going for maximum flavor and mouth feel, slice up a rib eye or new york strip steak and you'll have a rare treat. Veggies     We're not going to specify which veggies, just that they're fresh.  Broccoli, carrots, summer squash, pea pods, green beans,  mushrooms, celery, bell peppers in all three colors, etc.   You can use whatever is in your refrigerator, .just make sure the pieces are small. Oil     We're not going to use a ton of oil in this dish, and it really doesn't matter what oil you use.  Extra Virgin Olive oil is probably too strong, although many people swear by it.  Nut oils are nice.  Peanut oil is what is traditionally used in asian food and it has a signature taste you will recognize.  Another consideration would be coconut oil.  It's not traditional by any means, but it adds a delightful hint of coconut to your food.  Bison steaks cooked in a little coconut oil are heavenly. Sriracha     Another name for sriracha is Thai Chiles.  They are prepared into a sauce that is easily added to your dish.  You need to know that these chiles are phenomenally hot, so proceed with caution.  If you like it hotter, add more.  It's easy to get carried away.  Don't.  Trust me on this one. Starch:    Traditionally, stir fry is served over some sort of starch (rice, noodles, etc.)  You can use whatever starch you like best.  For a healthier meal, consider putting it over spaghetti squash.  It's wonderful served like that.  Or you could put it over grated sweet potato (if you don't cook it too long) or something like that.  Be creative. Sauce:  Some people like a sauce over their stir fry, others like to eat it "neat."  If you're of the sauce camp, you can make a traditional sauce by mixing a couple of Tbs. of soy sauce or terriyaki sauce with a little brown sugar and freshly grated ginger root.  You could add a little red wine, or worchestershire sauce or whatever strikes your fancy that way as well.  Then thicken with a little cornstarch so it sticks to the meat and veggies. Instructions: Stir fry is traditionally cooked in a wok for a couple of reasons.  First, it's convenient to cook everything in one pan without having some things over done and some things under done. Second, it's a great way to cook with oil and still be "low-fat."  For example, what you do is cook down in the oil for a period, then move the cooked food up the side, out of the oil.  Since the side of the pan is cooler, the already cooked food doesn't burn.  It just holds warm.  The cooked food also drains the oil used to cook it right back into the pan while other items are cooking.  It's pretty ingenious, really. So if you have a wok you'll use that.  If not, a heavy frying pan will do.  Start by cutting your meat and veggies into small strips.  If you think about strips the size of a McDonalds french fry you've got the idea.  Food that's any bigger than that takes too long to cook. Begin by putting foods in the oil that take the longest to cook.If you were using beef, you might start with that.  But we're using bison steak, so we'll hold that for later.  Start with items like carrots, broccoli, squash, etc. that take the longest to cook.  If you're using a wok, cook them for 2-3 minutes and push them up the side.  If you're using a fry pan, when they have cooked for 2-3 minutes, remove them from the pan to drain on some paper towels. Next come the more quickly cooked veggies like onions and peppers.  Again, just a couple of minutes and you push them up the side or take them off out of the pan.  Then the stuff that cooks the fastest, like the mushrooms.  They will go into the oil for about 1-1.5 minutes then up the side. Finally, we'll cook the bison.  This is a situation where you don't want to overcook.  Pieces of bison this small will cook incredibly rapidly.  1 - 2 minutes will be more than enough.  Remember, you don't want to over-cook bison.  A good rule of thumb for the meat is this: if there's no red showing on these little julienned slices of bison steak, they're done.  Seriously, 1 - 2 minutes is all it takes. For those who like a sauce, here's how we're going to use it.  You simply turn off the stove, withdraw the oil in the bottom of the pan with a spoon, and pour in the sauce in its place.  Then slide the food down into the sauce and toss to coat.  You're ready to eat!  If you're going to use sriracha, add it either before the sauce and toss, or add it to the sauce and before adding the food.  Either will work.  The flavor of the chiles is more "pure" if you add sriracha separate from the sauce.  If all you want is heat, just add it to the sauce. It looks like, from the length of this recipe, that it takes a long time to prepare.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  We're talking 20 minutes from start to finish, including prep time.  It probably took you longer to read this than it would have to prepare it.  It's easy, it's a great way to use up whatever you have in your fridge that needs to be used up, it's healthy and it tastes great.  Try some today and let us know how it went.  We'd love to hear what you do differently that works well for your family.

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