Although this weeknight stew recipe is anything but traditional–bison and celery in Bourguignon (gasp! )–I love it. It’s my winter, healthy version of comfort food. And any wine lover will appreciate it. (As will anyone who loves a one-pot meal.)
the aphrodisiac of wild game
My version of Boeuf Bourguignon replaces the boeuf with the aphrodisiac and high-quality protein of wild game. Although bison can be tricky to cook, I love using it as a substitute in beef recipes. It has far less fat and more protein than beef, which is largely why it’s considered aphrodisiac…And then, of course, there’s the fact that it has wild in the name…Now, here’s the best part to this recipe. Because you’re stewing the meat, you don’t have to worry about the bison getting tough, which is always a danger when you’re grilling or searing.
Load up on veggies
My version of Bourguignon also calls for more vegetables that the classic. I love the depth of flavor the leeks and thyme give the broth. And since they’re both aphrodisiacs, I figure a healthy dose is a welcome addition to this weeknight romantic dinner. I also layer in the aphrodisiacs of carrots and celery so there’s no need for a vegetable on the side. The whole, seductive meal cooks in one pot because sometimes, simplicity is bliss.
Although the recipe makes four servings, I love using this weeknight stew recipe as a dinner for two with leftovers for lunch the next day. But the recipe also works well to satisfy a family of four.
And about the wine
I mentioned that this is a dish for wine lovers. Anyone who cooks regularly with wine understands the acidity and depth of flavor it brings to a dish. Cooking with wine can create incredibly seductive dishes. Now, Bourguignon is traditionally made with red Burgundy or Pinot Noir. My easy weeknight stew recipe doesn’t insist on the traditional, French wine. After all, there’s very little tradition in my dish. But it is important that you use a dry, red wine of a quality you would be willing to drink. It doesn’t need to be a $30 bottle of Pinot Noir but it needs to be something you would be willing to drink, such as a $10 Grenache. (Just make sure the wine is still good. Not something that’s been open too long or a bottle that’s corked.) And please do not use anything labeled, “cooking wine.”
Comfort food gets a modern (and healthy) twist with the use of bison in place of beef.
- 1 tbsp grape seed oil
- 1-1 1/4 lb bison stew meat
- salt and black pepper
- 4 medium carrots cut into ¼-inch rounds
- 2 leeks
- 1 medium onion roughly chopped
- 2 celery ribs cut into ¼-inch slices
- 1 cup beef stock
- 2 cup Burgundy or other dry red wine
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 1 tbsp buerre manie*
- Carefully wash the leeks and halve lengthwise. Cut the white of the leek into ¼-inch half rounds. Save the dark green parts to make a delicious vegetable stock.
- Heat the grape seed oil in a Dutch oven.
- While the oil is heating, season the bison cubes with salt and pepper.
- Add the bison to the Dutch oven and brown for 2-3 minutes on one side, then flip to brown on the other side, adding the carrots, leeks, onion and celery.
- Continue to brown the meat for an additional 3 minutes.
- Pour in the stock and wine and add the whole thyme sprigs.
- Bring to a simmer and simmer, covered for 2-2 1/2 hours.
- Just before serving, remove the thyme sprigs and gently stir in the buerre manie.
Allow it to simmer for about a minute to thicken before removing from heat and serving.
Here’s a great article in Saveur Magazine on how to make/use buerre manie.
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