It’s not everyday that I come home to find a cooler filled with a backstrap and 2 tenderloins which just happen to be from a Black Bear shot the day prior. By the way, Thank you Siebs…
I honestly had to do some research since I had no idea where to start. I’m glad I spent the time to educate myself on how to handle, process and cook the meat. I had no idea that bears carry a parasite called Trichinella. Everywhere I looked they recommended to cook the meat thoroughly and be sure before consuming that it was to be 180 degrees internal temperature. Well I have to say, that I prefer most game meat to be medium-rare and anything cooked longer is just not worth eating.
Knowing all of this information, I decided to make a Black Bear Bourguignon (aka Burgundy). I’ve used this recipe with several different meats in the past and have it featured in the Wild Game Cuisine Cookbook. It can be time-consuming to prepare, but the outcome is well worth waiting for. The bear was braised in red wine, brandy and beef broth flavored with onions, garlic, bacon, thyme and mushrooms. Traditionally I use pearl onions but decided to leave them out of this dish and simply double the yellow onions.
For all of those friends who told me Black Bear was stringy, fatty and gamey… I’m pretty sure you’ve never had it prepared using this recipe. The black bear was more than tender, mild and overall exceptionally rich in flavor. I’d have to say one of the best meals I’ve had…
- 1 1/2 – 2 pounds black bear meat, 1 inch cubes
- 6 slices thick bacon, chopped
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 1 cup brandy
- 2 1/2 cups beef stock
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 16 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 450° F. Heat dutch oven pot over medium-high heat and cook bacon until lightly browned. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Leave bacon drippings in the pot. Sear cubed meat in bacon drippings until browned on all sides. Do this in batches so not to over crowd the pan. Remove meat and set aside. Add chopped onion and garlic and sauté until translucent. Add meat back to dutch oven with onions. Sprinkle flour over meat and stir to coat. Place in oven uncovered for 5 minutes. Stir meat and continue to bake for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Add cooked bacon, wine, brandy, tomato paste and beef stock into meat mixture. Add thyme and bay leaf. Put back into the oven with the lid on and cook for -2 1/2 hours or until meat is tender. An hour before serving, melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and sauté mushrooms until browned. Add mushrooms to meat mixture and continue to cook in oven for remaining time. Remove from oven and season with salt and pepper if needed.
Serve in a large bowl with sliced sourdough bread.