A Delightful Buffalo Stew

Snowshoeing all morning has me craving some decadent vidals for our evening meal. A snowy afternoon in the mountains means you just need to have a hot pot of buffalo stew simmering on the stovetop all afternoon. The west may have been won on beef, but once you try buffalo meat in your stew, I guarantee you will never go back to beef!

Just this summer as we traveled cross-country I was so pleased to see that not just across Montana and Wyoming but all across the U.S. buffalo steak has become so much more common. Here in southern California, we can actually purchase buffalo sirloin from Sprout’s Nutrition for not much more than I pay for ribeye steaks.  I absolutely prefer the taste of buffalo any day to the taste of beef, even if it’s grass-fed. But then again I am a weirdo who does prefer gamey meats.

Montana; That great splash of grandeur

When we ventured through Billings, Montana last July the summertime weather was just perfect, around eighty degrees. The rolling mountain hills outside Billings were vibrant and full of wildflowers. I would love to go back and explore this area of the country some time. Meanwhile today in Billings they got down to a low of minus 25. That’s just nutty. No wonder Beth Dutton is always in such a bad mood.

I am the biggest fan of snowshoeing out in the cold but in my personal opinion being outdoors when it’s in the single digits is just no fun. Thank God, here in Big Bear Lake California it has been a balmy fifty-five degrees all week! So have I been snowshoeing in shorts? Of course, I have!

It may be nearly spring temperatures here in our mountains of southern California but good God am I praying for a snowstorm. I would much rather have snowy weather any day than clear skies and melting snow on the trails. I’ll enjoy these few days of spring-like weather but my fingers are crossed that our southern California mountains have a snowy February in our future.

With not much snow in our forecast, tourism has been a bit slow. That gives me lots of time, to yes, go snowshoeing on the trails I prefer with my trail pup. It also gives me lots of time to whip up a delicious chili, curry or buffalo stew for supper.

There are some amazing tricks to creating the best stew ever.

  • Number 1, don’t skimp on the garlic. A good stew is chock full of garlic cloves.
  • Number 2, Bacon Fat. I mean, bacon makes everything more delicious, right?
  • Number 3, I mean seriously using a good gamey meat like buffalo can make your stew or curry, trust me.
  • Number 4, you need to simmer this stew for half a day so the flavors can develop. You simply can not rush a good stew, curry or chili.
  • Number 5, don’t even think of using Charles Shaw as the red wine. If it’s too cheap and vinegar-like for you to drink, it will ruin the flavors of your stew.

Buffalo Stew

3 tablespoons bacon fat

1 red onion, chopped thin

buffalo stew
Hiking where the buffalo roam last summer in Montana

4 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup chopped celery, chopped very fine

1 pound bison sirloin, chopped into bite-sized pieces

1 small can of tomato paste

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped fine

1 teaspoon chopped thyme

3/4 cup sliced crimini mushrooms

3/4 cup of red wine

2 cups beef stock

2 cups of water

1/2 cup green peas

6 small white potatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces

In the bacon fat, cook the red onion slices until very brown, at least ten minutes. Throw in the garlic cloves and let them cook with the onions for the last few minutes. Let the onions and garlic cool down and then blitz in a food processor. Return to the pot along with the celery pieces and the sage leaves. Cook for five minutes, mix in the mushroom slices and let cook for five more minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Let reduce for five minutes.

Mix in the beef broth, water, tomato paste, salt, pepper and thyme. Bring your stew to a simmer and let reduce, stirring every once in a while for at least two hours. An hour before serving add your potatoes. 15 minutes before serving, mix in the peas. I like to serve this with a dollop of horseradish cream.