2 eggs, beaten
1 cup crushed saltines (about 1/2 tube)
1/2 sweet onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1/8 cup piñon nuts
1/4 teaspoon juniper berries
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 pound ground buffalo
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a loaf pan with olive oil.
In a large wide bowl, beat 2 eggs.
Crush 1/2 tube of saltines to make 1 cup of crumbs. Add the crumbs to the eggs.
Dice 1/2 sweet onion to make about 1/2 cup of onion bits. Add those to the bowl. Pour in 1/8 cup piñon nuts.
In a mortar and pestle, grind together 1/4 teaspoon juniper berries, 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Once ground, stir in 1 teaspoon rubbed sage. Sprinkle the mixture into the bowl.
Add 1 pound ground buffalo. Mix everything together. Form into a log shape. Put it into the loaf pan and pat smooth.
Bake at 350ºF for 60 minutes. When done, the top should be browned and the juices should run clear. You can cut this one right away; it holds together pretty well when cut.
Sweet onion is less hot than other types. Red onion also works well with buffalo and other dark flavors. Raw onion added to meatloaf typically comes out al dente. If you want it soft, you can saute the onion before adding it to the mix, but that takes considerably longer.
Piñon nuts come from pine trees native to North America. They have a rich, sweet-tart flavor that goes well with most wild meats.
Juniper berries have a bright, resinous flavor that contrasts with heavy foods such as meat. If you can't find it, rosemary is somewhat similar.
Sea salt has more minerals and trace elements, but if you don't have any, table salt will do.
Sage has a musky green flavor and combines well with many other herbs.
Buffalo or bison is a lean meat with a rich dark flavor. Use it with robust spices.