A rich, meaty stew can be a special dish for entertaining yet still be simple enough for a family weekday meal. This meat stew is both and more, as it uses bison for its nutritional benefits and full flavour.
Bison stew with mushrooms and onions
Serving size 6
1 kilogram (about 2 pounds) of bison stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups pearl onions, left whole but peeled and trimmed
4 cups cremini mushrooms, stems removed or rough-chopped portobello mushrooms or a mix of cremini and wild mushrooms
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups good-quality beef or veal stock (preferably homemade or low-sodium)
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Truffle oil or chopped parsley, if desired
In a medium frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat.
Add half the bison meat to the pan. Cook the meat until lightly browned on all sides, approximately 5 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan, and set it aside.
Repeat with the remaining meat. Add up to 2 more tablespoons of olive oil as needed.
After the second batch of meat has been removed, add 1 cup of red wine to the frying pan.
Deglaze the pan by scraping up all the browned bits into the wine while cooking over medium heat for a minute or two. Remove from heat, and set it aside.
In a pot or Dutch oven, pour 1 cup of stock, and add the garlic. Cook over medium heat until the garlic is tender, approximately 5 minutes. Add the whole onions and 1/2 a cup of water, and continue to cook until the sauce has reduced by about half. Season with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, whisk the flour into the remaining 2 cups of beef stock.
Add the wine mixture, mushrooms, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, meat and beef stock to the pot or Dutch oven.
Mix and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and then simmer, stirring occasionally, until the bison is cooked and tender, approximately 2 hours. Add more stock or water if needed.
Garnish with chopped parsley, or add a drizzle of truffle oil.
Serve with noodles, mashed potatoes or on its own with crusty bread to soak up all the sauce.
If you're looking for a healthy alternative to beef, bison is a great option. Per Canadian Rocky Mountain Ranch, bison has fewer calories and fat yet more protein and iron than beef. It also adds a nice depth of flavour to your dishes and can easily replace beef in many of your favourite recipes. As bison has less marbling than beef, keep in mind that cooking buffalo slowly at a low heat will produce the best results.