Middle Eastern Bison Pita Sliders
For the Cilantro Yogurt Sauce:
  • 1 t fennel seeds
  • .5 t cumin
  • .5 t ground coriander
  • 1.5 c chopped fresh cilantro
  • .5 c 2% Greek yogurt
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t chopped fresh sage
  • 1 t sugar
For the Meatballs:
  • .5 c fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless french bread (I used the inside of a stale baguette that I made into crumbs using a cheese grater – true story)
  • 1 T skim milk
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 c finely chopped sweet onion
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • .5 t ground fennel seeds (remainder from the yogurt sauce)
  • .5 t cumin
  • .25 t ground coriander
  • 1 - 2 T minced jalapeno chile, measured after seeds are taken out
  • 2 T fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1.25 lb ground bison
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • .25 c chopped cilantro
  • 1 t chopped fresh sage
  • .5 t coarse kosher salt
  • .5 t freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground cloves
For the Cilantro Yogurt Sauce:
  1. Toast the fennel seeds in a small skillet over medium heat until you can smell it, and it's slightly darker in color, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Finely grind the toasted seeds in a spice mill or coffee grinder, or with a mortar and pestle (or a meat mallet with the seeds in a plastic bag).
  3. Place half of the ground fennel, and the cumin, coriander, cilantro, yogurt, onions, lemon juice, olive oil, sage, and sugar in a mini-prep food processor.
  4. Process until a smooth sauce forms, scraping down sides frequently.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover sauce and chill.
For the Meatballs:
  1. In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs with the milk, to soften the crumbs.
  2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. When hot, add 1 T extra virgin olive oil. Then add the onion and garlic; saute until soft, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a food processor, place the onion mixture, breadcrumb mixture, fennel, cumin, coriander, jalapeno, and yogurt. Pulse until a coarse puree forms.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add bison, egg, cilantro, sage, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and cloves. Mix with hands until just blended.
  5. Form bison mixture into 1.25-inch balls.
  6. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs to the pan, but don’t crowd them – the meatballs should be at least 1″ apart, so work in 2 – 3 batches. Brown the meatballs on all sides, about 8 – 10 min per batch. If the pan gets too hot, remove it from the heat for a while and use a wet paper towel to wipe it down. Start over with more oil and repeat until all of the meatballs are browned.
Recipe by My Utensil Crock at http://www.myutensilcrock.com/2017/05/11/middle-eastern-bison-pita-sliders/