Bison (or buffalo) tastes a lot like beef, but it's much leaner and healthier. Here, ground bison is combined with toasted cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds to make aromatic mini meatballs, served with a bright-green yogurt dipping sauce. Don't be put off by the long ingredient list: The food processor does most of the hard work. Also, the cilantro-yogurt sauce can be made ahead. Serve with whole-wheat pita or flatbread, and sautéed veggies such as zucchini and red peppers. Have some fresh seasonal fruit for dessert.
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Photograph By: Tom Schierlitz
Amounts per serving plus the % Daily Value (DV) based on a 2,000 calorie diet:
See the full nutritional analysis from NutritionData.com
Toast all seeds in small skillet over medium heat until aromatic and slightly darker in color, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Cool. Finely grind seeds in spice mill or coffee grinder. Place cilantro and all remaining ingredients in blender. Add 1 teaspoon ground seeds and process until smooth sauce forms, scraping down sides frequently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover sauce and chill. Reserve remaining ground seeds for meatballs. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated. Store remaining ground seeds in airtight container at room temperature.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy small skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes (do not brown). Cool. Toss breadcrumbs with milk in small bowl to moisten. Place cooled onion mixture, breadcrumb mixture, reserved ground seeds from cilantro-yogurt sauce, jalapeño, and yogurt in processor. Using on/off turns, process until coarse puree forms. Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Add bison, egg, cilantro, sage, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, pepper, and allspice. Using hands or fork, mix until just blended. Using damp hands, form bison mixture into 1 1/4-inch balls. DO AHEAD: Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill.
Preheat oven to 300°F. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working in 2 batches, cook meatballs until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer meatballs to rimmed baking sheet. Place in oven to keep warm up to 15 minutes.
Serve meatballs with cilantro-yogurt sauce for dipping.
*A thick yogurt; sold at some supermarkets, specialty foods stores (such as Trader Joe's and Whole Foods), and Greek markets. If unavailable, place plain whole-milk yogurt in cheesecloth-lined strainer set over large bowl. Cover and chill 4 hours to drain.
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