Braised Bear

Yes. You read it correctly. Bear.  I cooked bear meat. It came from a female bear that my BFF's husband shot, as he is a hunter. BFF refuses to eat anything besides pork, chicken, turkey, and beef. That means hubby has to cook and eat his game himself or he gives some to me.  On my last visit to their house he handed over a bag of bear, venison, and duck. Score!

I did some internet research and discovered that bear meat is often riddled with parasites. So if you are eating it at your campsite the night after you've shot it, you need to cook it to well done to ensure you kill the parasites. But in general, freezing kills parasites. That's why you actually want your fish to be previously frozen, especially if you are a sushi eater. Luckily the fishing boats pretty much throw fresh catch directly to be flash frozen.

My gift of bear steak was frozen and so I didn't need to worry. I thawed it out and debated what to do with it. I wasn't sure if it was going to be a tough meat or not. In the end I decided to braise it. Being lazy, I braised it the quick way - in a pressure cooker. Less than an hour versus all day. I'm just learning to use my pressure cooker and so I was thrilled when this experiment came out so successful.

How did it taste? This recipe was a combination of a couple that I found on the internet. In the end it was delicious and I venture to say that if I served it to someone, they would think it was braised beef short ribs. Only the slightest of gamey flavor. The sauce was think and packed with concentrated flavor. I would definitely eat bear again.

Braised Bear in a pressure cooker

- ¼ cup flour
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbs. vegetable oil 
- 1 pound of bear meat (I had steaks)
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ cup red wine
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds

In a bowl mix flour with some salt and pepper for seasoning. Coat the bear meat with the flour mixture.  In a pressure cooker over high heat, add the vegetable oil. When it is hot, sear the meat on all sides until nicely browned. Turn temperature down to medium. Add onions and garlic and cook until translucent. Add in the wine, stock, thyme and celery seeds. Put on pressure cooker lid and secure per instructions.  Follow pressure cooker instructions to get it pressurized.  Cook for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool or carefully release pressure per instructions. 

I served mine with sauteed kale.