I’m back! After taking a not-so-brief break from blogging to welcome my sweet baby boy into the world, I’m back with a delicious recipe to share. It’s a stew recipe, and appropriately so because my family and I have pretty much been living off of soups, stews and other one-pot-dishes for the last couple of months. That’s really all I had the energy to make toward the end of my pregnancy, and all I have had time to make while I’m adjusting to life with my new little bundle of joy.
Okay okay I know. This is a post about stew. You’re waiting for a recipe. But I couldn’t help myself. Those cheeks are too much right?
My French Bison Stew is a spin on a classic French dish called Boeuf Bourguignon, which is a super hearty, rich, and delicious glorified beef stew made with wine and mushrooms and lots of other yummy herbs and veggies. Don’t be turned off by the idea that it’s a French-inspired dish. French cooking and complicated do not have to be mutually exclusive. As I said, it’s really just a stew! An easy and delicious one-pot meal!
In this particular version I use bison. I have a great local source for grass fed bison stew meat so I usually have some at the ready for just this occasion. I love the stuff. It’s slightly gamier than beef, so if you don’t appreciate that flavor or you just can’t find it, by all means, go for grass fed beef stew meat.
You’ll notice that this recipe calls for red wine! If you have never cooked with wine before, I feel sorry for you. Really. Cooking with wine creates a really delicious, rich flavor in a dish that simply cannot be accomplished through any other means. But I beg you, PLEASE do NOT buy the stuff labeled “cooking wine” that you find in the same aisle of the grocery store as the balsamic vinegar. That stuff is nasty. When you cook with wine, you concentrate the flavor. So you want to cook with something that you would drink. Coincidentally, this recipe only calls for one cup, so you can have yourself a sipper whilst your stew cooks. Bonus!
Another key component to a great stew is a good, quality Dutch oven. My grandmother blessed me with this one when I got married, and I love it. I use it for everything! It’s quite the investment, however. Here is a less expensive option that will also work out just fine.
Ready for the recipe?
- 1 lb pastured bacon, cut into lardon (1 inch strips)
- 1 lb grass fed bison stew meat (or beef)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 5-6 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 lb button or crimini (baby portabella) mushrooms, quartered
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 1 cup of dry red wine (I like Cabernet sauvignon)
- 6 cups beef stock
- 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, minced
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat on the stove top.
- Put the bacon in the pot and let it cook until crisp. When the bacon has crisped, remove it from the pot to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.
- Pour off some of the rendered bacon fat, leaving about a tablespoon in the pot.
- Add your bison to the pot. Season with salt and pepper and let it the meat brown on all sides.
- When the meat has browned, removed it from the pot and reserve for later.
- Add the onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms and garlic to the pot. Season with sea salt and pepper. Let saute until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste to the pot and stir to combine. Let cook for about 2-3 minutes.
- At this point you'll have lots of yummy brown stuff on the bottom of the pot. This is good!
- Remove the pot from the heat. Pour the wine in.
- Add the pot back onto the heat- medium high.
- As the wine bubbles, scrape the bits off of the bottom of the pot using a wooden spoon.
- When the wine reduces by half, add the beef stock to the pot.
- Add the bison back in, and add the herbs.
- Bring the stew to a boil, then reduce it to simmer and leave the lid cracked.
- Let simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- When there are 15 minutes remaining, add the potatoes to the pot.
- Taste and season with sea salt and pepper.
- Top with crisped bacon and serve!
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