I know, bear meat is a little off the beaten path for a lot of you. When asked to describe it, I often tell people it tastes a bit like a really rich pork. Because of the similarity, just about any recipe that works for pork will also work with bear.
This recipe is a great way to introduce people to bear meat. The sweet and savory sauce makes it easier for folks who might be skeptical about eating bear for the first time. While the recipe can be made start to finish in a heavy pot in the oven, a slow cooker excels for this one. Add the ingredients before you leave for work in the morning and all you have to do is steam a bit of broccoli and boil some rice or noodles to complete the meal.
With black bear populations exploding all over the United States, more and more areas are seeing bear seasons for the first time in recent history. If your state is one of the recent additions, or if you have had a bear season all along, try substituting bear meat for any of your favorite pork recipes. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at just how tasty it is.
2 pounds bear roasts, cut into one inch cubes
1 onion, sliced
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup coconut milk
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup creamy natural peanut butter
1 or 2 red chili peppers, finely diced
1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 Teaspoons salt, divided
1 pound steamed broccoli, added at end of cooking process
½ cup chopped peanuts
1 lime, cut into wedges
Serve over rice or Thai style noodles
Any time I am cooking meat in a slow cooker, I like to brown it first in a bit of oil. The flavors gained from browning meat are well worth any extra hassle or time it takes. Pour a ¼ inch of oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. While the oil comes to temperature, lightly sprinkle the cubed up bear meat with salt. Brown the meat in batches, one to two minutes per side. Don’t overcrowd the skillet; you want the meat to really take on a rich, deep color.
While the meat browns, layer the onion slices over the bottom of your slow cooker. Transfer the browned meat directly into the cooker over the onions. Add the next eight ingredients along with the remaining teaspoon of salt, stir well, and cook on high for six to eight hours.
Once the dish has cooked for the allotted time, add one pound of steamed broccoli to the slow cooker and stir well. Serve over rice or Thai style noodles.
Top with a ladle of sauce and garnish with chopped peanuts and a squeeze of lime juice.
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