As much as I stand on my soapbox about being conscientious when making ingredient substitutions, sometimes I really surprise myself and think waaaay outside of the box or plains in this case.
I had my heart set on beef bourguignon this week. I had some beautiful mushrooms, carrots and pearl onions all ready for my recipe. I went in my freezer to pull out the beef chuck roast that I KNEW was in there. To my surprise, I didn’t have beef chuck roast, I had BISON!!!
Why the heck do I have bison? I had gone to dinner with some high school friends and one of the gals ordered a bison steak. She shared a delicious morsel with me and I was determined to try it at home. I went to Whole Foods shortly after that dinner and bought the bison chuck roast, put it in the freezer and literally forgot about it.
Since I am not a professional cook, I took a leap of faith and thought I could trade my beef for my poor, ignored bison. Beef Bourguignon is technically a French dish but there aren’t a lot of American Buffalo in France. (Rumor has it there are some bison roaming about in Poland but I’ve never seen them). My beef bourguignon is a loose version of a Julia Child classic. I actually would hope that she would have been elated with my “ungulate” bourguignon!
¼ pound bacon, diced
2 pounds boneless bison chuck (you can use beef chuck)
1 pound pearl onions, peeled
1 pound baby Bella mushrooms, quartered
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
½ cup brandy
1 stalk celery
2 bay leaves
2 cups burgundy wine
1-cup beef broth (The store was out of bison broth, ha ha)
¾ cup carrots cut into thin slices
¼ cup parsley, rough chopped
- Heat oven to 325 degrees.
- Heat large ovenproof pan over medium heat.
- Add bacon and cook until crispy. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside. (If you are a bacon junky, make extra bacon because I guarantee you will start nibbling on the bacon when you are cooking.)
- While the bacon is cooking, dry the bison with a paper towel, season with salt and pepper and toss in flour to coat.
- Sear the bison in bacon fat (if pan is dry add grape seed oil). It should take about 2-3 minutes to get a nice caramelization on the beef. Set aside.
- Add the pearl onions and mushrooms. Don’t fuss with them too much or that won’t caramelize. In the 6-7 minutes they will take to cook, you should only move them about a few times.
- Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook another minute.
- Deglaze with brandy. Don’t forget to scrape up the delicious brown bits.
- Tie celery, parsley, thyme and bay leaves together (aka bouquet garni) and add to the pan.
- Add the seared bison, wine, carrots and beef broth.
- Bring to a boil. Cover and place in oven for about 2 to 2 ½ hours.
- Remove the celery bundle; add parsley and sprinkle with bacon.
- Serve with potatoes or buttered noodles.
If you ask my husband what this dish is called, he would say it was stew. If you asked me, I would have to agree with the author’s of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and say this is one of the most delicious “beef” dishes concocted by man.