Tuesday, December 6, 2011

52 Tastings: Week 50: There's a Bison in my stew

If you are anything like me, once the weather dips into the 60's stew and soup recipes start to fill your kitchen.  Winter is a very short time frame in good ole' Maricopa county Arizona, and I like to take every advantage of it, from busting out my "winter coat" to a steaming bowl of stew with a luscious red wine.  And yes, my eastern seaboard friends, the 60's is cold if you are a born and raised desert dweller!

I have had this beautiful buffalo stew meat in my freezer since April when I did a feature post on Adam's Natural Meats in Buckeye.  I have been saving it for colder days since then.  Last Friday called out for a yummy, warm bowl of stew.  Our temperatures had fallen from the 80's to the low 60's in only a couple days.  If you ever have a chance to use buffalo meat in a stew I highly recommend it, absolutely delicious! 

Thankfully, I live in an area where a buffalo farm is in my neck of the woods, that is the best bet to get the freshest meat.  Adams Natural Meats, is a company out of Buckeye, Arizona that specializes in grass-fed local beef and buffalo.  All the animals are treated humanly and with respect.   They are allowed to range and eat freely, and it sounds kinda strange but you are allowed to see the buffalo.  But if you like to know where you meat comes from, this is a big deal because then you can see that the animals are treated well and are in a safe comfortable environment.  If you live in the Phoenix area, I highly recommend you give this company a taste run.

If you are on a budget however, my advice is to look for sales, and according to the website if you sign up for their newsletter they will send you coupons and inform you of any specials they are running.  Buffalo meat, regardless of where you find it, is a little pricey.  Which to me is kinda funny and sad, due to how many used to just roam freely on the plains and then greedy idiots almost killed them off.  Now suddenly we have found out what the natives have always known, buffalo meat is both delicious and amazingly healthy.  Plus, you can use every part of the animal, which is an added bonus.  So what used to be plentiful, is now rare, and because of that fact the meat is expensive.

The wine I choose was from Bogle, a name I typically trust for good quality, value priced wine.  I adore their Petite Sirah, and have for many years, it was actually my first introduction to the varietal.  So my mom picked up the old vine Zinfandel.  I wanted a Zin because typically a Zin has tons of flavor, very berry-like, with a spicy backbone, perfect for buffalo anything.  I could have also gone with a Syrah or Primitivo, but decided to stick with the Zinfandel.  Well that was a disappointment.  

The stew tasted divine.  However, the soggy wine acted like a wet blanket.  It did nothing for the stew and barely passed for palatable on it's own.  The tasteless wine shamed old vine Zinfandels everywhere.  Typically, old vine means, old beautiful flavors, that are very rich and concentrated, everything that this bottle was not.  If the Zinfandel was true to it's character this would have been an home-run meal.  My recommendation is another old vine Zinfandel, or a nice tasty Syrah.  Now on to my tasting notes and menu.

Bogle Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel California 2009.  found at Cost Plus/ World Market for $10.

The nose was the first bad sign as it was very weak, with small amounts of plum, black cherry, blackberry, with a burn of alcohol.  The alcohol burn was tempered by my Vintri aerator, but without it, I'm not sure if the wine would have been drinkable.  This was an in and out wine with nothing notable or memorable as I took very little notes.  As I said above, it lacked the berry juiciness it needed to pair with the stew.  The stew was excellent, and I recommend it to any stew lover just pick another wine.  I also recommend a crock pot to make it, as it will slowly cook the meat, and therefor help it to retain all it's juicy, glorious flavor.


Bison Stew
Serves 4

1 1/2 lbs buffalo , cut into small pieces (like stew meat)
tablespoons flour
1 sweet potato cut into bit sized pieces
2 russett potatoes cut into bit sized pieces
cups large carrots, cut into bit sized pieces
medium onions diced
oz button mushrooms sliced into quarters
4 cloves garlic minced
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can of tomatoes
4 bay leaves
fresh oregano
fresh rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup red wine


1. Dredge buffalo meat in the flour until well coated, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

2.  Place a crock pot liner in your pot first, for ease of cleaning.  If you don't have a liner, skip this step.

3.  Place the potatoes on the bottom of the crock pot, next the onions, then the mushrooms, carrots, and garlic.

4.  Next place the buffalo meat on the top of all the veggies, this is important so that the buffalo meat does not dry out.  Since buffalo meat is low in fat it easily dries out and becomes tough, so keep it on top.  Pour all the liquids including the tomatoes in the pot.  Sprinkle with the thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper.

5.  Close the lid and cook for about 6-8 hours on low heat.  One hour before you are ready to serve stir the stew, but keep most of the meat on top.  Sprinkle the fresh oregano and rosemary in, and turn on high heat for the finial hour. (Watch carefully during that last hour to make sure the meat is not getting overdone, if it is done early just turn off the heat, and let it rest.)  Serve with a slice of crusty bread for a true healthy soul warming meal.

Thank you and enjoy!  Slow down this holiday season and partake in a lovely crock-pot meal with your family.


  1. Great work and great ideas to learn about some delicious recipes

  2. Thank you! Glad you enjoyed the post, please visit again and have a great day.