Archive for the 'bison' Category

12 Days of Recipes: Braised Bison Short Ribs with Balsamic

Braised Bison Short Ribs 1

I’m super into braising things these days.

The process of it. The browning of the wodges of meat and their long, lingering time in the oven. (In a cast iron pot, not the slow cooker.) The way the house smells when you walk outside and then back in – I keep going out and coming in, just for the experience.

bison short ribs

It feels like cooking. Bringing home an identifiable slab of meat, cutting and searing it (neither of which requires any particular skill), adding whatever flavours you like (balsamic! salt! thyme!) along with liquid and heat and allowing it all to do its thing – to break down tough connective tissues and melt into a delicious stew no different from those our ancestors cooked for their families in a pot on the hearth or over an open fire. Deep for a Wednesday night, I know.

Braised Bison Short ribs 8

Braising beef or bison short ribs is just like braising any other tough (read: flavourful) cut of meat. You salt and pepper the meat, patting it dry with paper towels if it’s wet. (This will help it brown, rather than steam.) Put a big cast iron or other ovenproof pot on the stove over relatively high heat, add a glug of oil and brown the meat on all sides, turning it with tongs. Onions and other veggies will help loosen those browned bits, which are essential to the flavour of the finished dish; a big splash of balsamic vinegar helps too. In this case, a wee vial of espresso balsamic from Soffrito.

Braised Bison Short ribs 7

Braised Bison Short ribs 6

The funny thing about a dish like braised short ribs is that they have this air of dining out in a fancy restaurant; it’s something you might plan to make for an elaborate dinner party or Sunday supper, when really they take about as much effort as a pot of spaghetti. If you plan to be at home for a few hours between school and dinner, you’ll have just enough time. (Or you could go the pressure cooker route. That would speed things up, but keep them dark and laquered, the way they get after a long stint in a slow oven.)

Bison short rib Collage


Braised Bison Short ribs 4

Look! Dark, sticky winter meat heaven. And a good excuse to make mashed potatoes.

Braised Bison Short Ribs 2

Braised Bison Short Ribs with Espresso Balsamic

canola oil, for cooking
2 lb. bison or beef short ribs (about 6)
salt & pepper
1 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup regular or espresso balsamic vinegar
1 cup red wine
beef or chicken stock (or more wine)

Heat a drizzle of oil in a heavy skillet or oven-proof pot set over medium-high heat. Season the ribs with salt and pepper and brown on all sides; set aside. Add the onion, carrot and celery to the pan and cook for a few minutes, until they start to soften and loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Pour in the balsamic vinegar and cook for a minute, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

If you’re going to braise the ribs in the pot, return them to the pot with the vegetables. Otherwise transfer the veggies to a pressure cooker or slow cooker. Pour the wine overtop, and add enough stock to come about halfway up the sides of the ribs.

If you’re cooking them in the pot, cover and cook at 300F for 3 hours. In the pressure cooker, bring it up to temperature according to the manufacturers’ directions and cook for about 45 minutes; cool and release the lid. In a slow cooker, cover and set on low for 8 hours.

Strain the veggies out of the sauce or puree them right in the pot with a hand-held immersion blender; bring to a simmer on the stovetop and cook until slightly reduced, if it needs it.

Serves 6.

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November 27 2013 | beef and bison | 10 Comments »

Bison Roast on the Grill

I know, sounds scary, right? I was a little nervous, too. My approach to any bison cut (beyond ground) is to do them low and slow – in the slow cooker, even – to make sure they don’t dry out. They’re so much leaner than beef, but so flavourful – the low and slow method is pretty foolproof. And you can’t beat a good bison bourguignon.

But. It’s not exactly braising (oven on for three hours) season – it’s barbecue season. And the reality is that an actual bison is 10% premium steaks, 40-45% roast type cuts – the remainder of the meat is trim (ground), which goes toward burgers and sausage, which practically sell themselves. Roasts are the hardest thing for producers to market because most people don’t know how to cook them, or don’t want to spend the time. Who makes pot roasts anymore?

Next to ground, roasts are the most economical cut of bison and also the leanest. Bison has 1/4 the fat of beef or pork – it’s even leaner than skinless chicken or turkey. And it’s wonderful, flavourful meat – every time we have bison (which is more often than beef these days) Mike shakes his head and declares it far better. It isn’t that far off, really – most people wouldn’t know the difference. And yet even though it looks like beef and tastes like beef – the cuts are even named the same way – you can’t treat it exactly like beef in the kitchen. You’ll be fine with ground bison and sausage, but steaks and roasts need about a third less cooking time. And keep in mind the shape, rather than the weight – a long, thin roast the same weight as a round one will cook more quickly.

This beautiful little bundle of roast beast came from Peter and Judy Haase at Buffalo Horn Ranch – wonderful people and advocates of environmentally responsible and sustainable agriculture. Check out their website for more nutritional info, cooking tips and to order their well-raised bison – they make free deliveries in Calgary if you order $100 or more – a great way to stock up for summer.

Bison Roast on the Grill

1 3-4 lb. roast (I used eye of round)
canola oil
salt and pepper

Pat the roast dry, then drizzle it with oil and season with salt and pepper. Preheat the barbecue to high, and when it’s good and hot (the dial will register around 600 degrees) throw it on, sear it on all sides, then turn off one side – the side the meat is on – and leave the other one on. Throw some soaked wood chips in if you like, and close the lid. Cook for about an hour, until a meat thermometer registers 130ºF. Place on a cutting board, wrap loosely with foil and let rest for 20 minutes before slicing thin – it will go up five degrees or so as it rests. Slice thinly to serve.

In other news, if there was a Hoarders – Kitchen Edition I could be a candidate. Remember how I said I was going to start using up the food I already have? The roast came from the freezer, and I gutted one cupboard and consolidated several dozen little bags of beans, grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and bits of things – turning all unidentifiable flours into a big bag of pancake mix and taking an inventory of everything else, divvying some of it into jars. It was one of those little jobs I got right into for the first half of (taking everything out and going -aha! I have mung beans/unflavoured gelatin/sundried tomatoes/dried-out marshmallows/too many figs!) and then completely lost interest in when about a third had been neatly reorganized back in the cupboard. I’m now avoiding the kitchen altogether and starting to cook in the dining room, where there’s actually some horizontal space.

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June 14 2010 | bison | 12 Comments »

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