Parks Canada Heritage Gourmet Recipes

Bison Stew

This hearty dish could be made on a camping trip.

Bison Stew

Origin: Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site
Region: Prairies (Manitoba)
Period: 19th Century
Course: Main Course

Historic illustration of men hunting buffalo Historic illustration of men hunting buffalo
© The Picture Gallery of Canadian History, Volume 2, C. W. Jefferys

Throughout the 1800s, Lower Fort Garry was a major hub for aboriginal people living near the Red River settlement. Besides outfitting farmers and trappers with their yearly supplies, the aboriginal communities also conducted business with the Hudson's Bay Company. Many aboriginal people would trade their leather goods, farmed crops and dried fish with the Company, and more still would work for the Company by taking part in the yearly bison hunts, pictured above.

Bison Stew


  • 3½-4 lbs | 1.5 kg piece of bison meat or top butt beef, cubed
  • 3 tbsp | 45 ml oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ½ lb | 250 g mushrooms, quartered or sliced
  • 1 cup | 250 ml diced carrots
  • ½ cup | 125 ml diced celery
  • 1 cup | 250 ml diced turnips/rutabaga
  • 2 quarts | 2 litres beef stock or water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1½ cups | 375 ml water or cream + 1 cup | 250 ml uncooked rice to finish (optional)


  • Preheat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown the meat on all sides. Add the stock or water, and the onion, mushrooms, carrots, celery and turnip. Simmer until the vegetables are soft and the bison is tender, about 1 hour. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • If desired, add the water or cream and the uncooked rice to the stew and cook for 20 minutes longer, for full meal. Or simply serve plain with bannock on the side.


Recipe tested by Chef Scott Warrick, Algonquin College School of Hospitality and Tourism

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