More Adventures in Cooking

I know. I’m in danger of turning this into a food blog! Oh well, I guess that’s what fascinates me at the moment.

I was with my brother and sister-in-law last week, and Marc mocked me and gave me no end of grief for my revised Basque Lamb Stew recipe (which replaced the lamb with bison meat and added poblano peppers — both from the Americas rather than the Iberian Peninsula). Well, tonight I had the bison meat thawing and had a hankering for tomatillos. As a result, the recipe went totally off the rails, and it turned out pretty darn good. But I’ll definitely have to change the name. I think I’ll call it “Bosque Buffalo Stew.”

In case you didn’t notice, I changed the “a” to an “o.” Bosque refers to “areas of gallery forest found along the riparian flood plains of stream and river banks in the southwestern United States” (see Wikipedia — the only reason I know this is that a good friend from high school lives in Bosque Farms, NM — a southern suburb of Albuquerque). For any of my readers who are overly critical, I realize this dish doesn’t have anything to do with bosque. But I figure people in the S.W. U.S. eat a lot of poblano peppers and tomatillos. Furthermore, bison, if they would have wondered down there back in the day, would probably have spent a lot of time along the river bank among the riparian forests enjoying the shade and clear, cool water. So while not particularly precise, I do think the new name is evocative of cultures and flavors reflected in tonight’s dinner.

Tonight I browned up a pound of bison steak cut into bite size chunks. (By the way, it is the most beautiful meat. Not quite as dark in color as elk or moose, it is still a very deep red and the color is more vibrant than any variety of deer meat. It is beautiful laying out on the cutting board.) I set that aside and sauted a trinity of onion, pepper (roasted poblano and roasted red bell), and celery. I then spiced it up with lots of rosemary (true to the original recipe), oregano, paprika, ancho chili powder, and cayenne pepper (true to the bosque), and then added a half pound of tomatillos and a few ounces of red wine, cooked it for a few minutes on the stove top and then stuck it in the oven for the rest of the afternoon.

For a veg, I grated up raw cauliflower in a food processor and cooked that in just a bit of beef stock on the stove for fifteen minutes. The end result is very similar to rice. I poured the stew over the top. (Another homage to Mexican cooking — chili verde over rice. Granted my bosque stew was a far cry from chili verde, which is where tomatillos generally end up, but the slight sourness of the tomatillos worked very well with the dark and savory flavors of the buffalo and rosemary.)

We added a salad and some home made bread and voila, it was a riparian delight. (I do live by the river, after all.)


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