Bubbling unhurriedly along in the oven, a good stew proves its worth as soon as you open the lid for a peek: out wafts a delicious cloud of savory steam, and the promise of even better things to come when dinnertime finally arrives. It’s not haute cuisine, but it’s warm, it’s filling, and it brightens up a dreary January day without requiring a lot of the cook’s time and energy.
For this particular version, you can choose from a variety of different cuts of bison (or beef, if you can’t find bison). Anything from the shoulder or chuck will give you very tender meat, but the beauty of stew is that it’s not fussy about the specifics, so use what you have. For the liquid, you can use red wine if you’re not worried about cooking with alcohol, or just add another cup of stock if you’d rather not. The flavor will be slightly different, but the spice blend and the generous helping of tomatoes make the stew rich and hearty even without the wine.
Because stew is such a forgiving cooking method, this would be a perfect recipe to adapt to a slow-cooker. An entire workday is probably too long, but the recipe would easily accommodate a morning of errands, and then give you a delicious lunch to enjoy when you get home. Serve it hot over mashed cauliflower, roasted potatoes, or spaghetti squash for a complete meal of cold-weather comfort food.
Bison Stew Recipe
- 2.5 lb. bison meat, cut into 1-inch cubes;
- 2 pieces of oxtail or beef shank of about 4 oz. each;
- 2 onions, minced;
- 5 tomatoes, diced;
- 1 cup of dry red wine; (optional)
- 2 ½ cup beef or veal stock;
- 1 tsp. ground allspice;
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon;
- 3 garlic cloves, minced;
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste;
- Paleo cooking fat;
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper;
- Preheat your oven to 325 F.
- Melt some cooking fat in a Dutch oven that’s placed over a medium-high heat. Brown the bison cubes, then remove them and set aside.
- Brown the onion and the oxtail or beef shank in the same Dutch oven for about 4 min.
- Return the bison cubes to the Dutch oven. Add the red wine, and cook until the liquid is reduced by about half.
- Add the beef or veal stock, garlic, tomatoes, cinnamon, allspice, tomato paste, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring everything to a boil; then cover and place in the oven.
Cook for 2 hours or until the bison cubes are tender.