Main Dish

Bison Meatballs with Warm Cherry-Mushroom Rice Salad

Old World Winery

850 River Rd
Fulton, CA 95439

  • RECIPE YEAR: 2013
  • RECIPE BY: Helena Gustavsson Giesea
  • YIELD: Serves 4
  • PAIRS WELL WITH: Abourious Russian River Red

Winemaker Darek Trowbridge and chef Helena Giesea are happy to be working together again, as they have done for many winemaker dinners. Darek is known for producing wines from unusual grape varieties, and Helena is known for her creative use of wild game and other non-mainstream meats. They've challenged each other for Wine & Food Affair; check out the results!

Rice Salad

  • 2 cups brown basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup California wild rice
  • 5 cups cold water
  • 2 tablespoons dried mushrooms, crushed into dust
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced carrots
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced celery
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced red onions
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1/4 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange zest (using a microplane)
  • 2 cups fresh orange juice, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Old World Winery Abourious wine
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
To prepare the rice salad, in a large saucepan, combine the basmati rice, wild rice, cold water, mushroom dust, carrots, celery, onions and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the water has evaporated and the rice is fully cooked, about 40 minutes. 

Scoop the rice into a large bowl and let cool a little. Fold in the cheese, cherries and orange zest. In a saucepan, combine the orange juice, wine and honey and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. 

Pour the orange juice mixture over the rice and season with salt and black pepper. 


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 pound ground grass-fed bison
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
Meanwhile, prepare the meatballs: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and add the milk. Soak the bread crumbs in the egg mixture. Add the ground bison, mustard, onion powder, nutmeg, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt and mix well. Form the mixture into 1- to 1 1/2-ounce meatballs. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. 

Serve the meatballs over the warm rice salad.

Old World Winery

850 River Rd
Fulton, CA 95439