Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow Day!

So for our unexpected snow day I felt the need for some cold weather comfort food.  In this month's Bon Appetit there was an article on 'meat and potato' dishes.  I'm not sure I've ever had shepherds pie before this, but the tempting combination of savory stewed meat and veggies topped with a crisped mashed potato crust was too much for this cold day.  Since it was going to be a while to wait for the meal we picked up some beautiful cheeses from Whole Foods.


On the left is a buffalo milk cheese called Quadrello di Bufala.  It was incredibly creamy, aromatic (a nice way of saying it was a very stinky cheese), and tangy.  On the right is a goat's milk cheese from Spain called Cabra Romero.  This one was aged slightly, giving it a more firm, salty taste, and crusted in dried rosemary.  Both were great.  I always go with a neutral cracker for trying new cheeses - I like 34 Natural Crackerbreads.

I love using bison in place of beef in almost every recipe.  I just like the flavor more and the health benefits are nice as well.  During the summer, the Gunpowder Bison Company sells buffalo at our Annapolis farmers market.  In the the winter I have to rely on Whole Foods, that sources locally as well.  For this dish I got a 3 lb buffalo chuck roast and cut it up into 2 inch chunks.  The recipe calls for a dredge in a paprika/flour mix and browning in some bacon fat.  I crisped up some Wellshire Farms slab bacon for this and the bacon gets incorporated to the bison stew portion of the dish.  The standard carrots, onions, celery, and garlic formed the base for the stew.  Red wine, chicken broth, thyme, sage, bay leaves and seasoning finished it off.  After letting it stew for 2 hours I added chopped parsnips and sweet potatoes.  Right before assembling, I added some blanched pearl onions.

On top of the bison stew is a simple mashed potato.  I riced the potatoes and added cream, milk, butter, and a whole egg.  Top the dish with egg wash and freshly grated parm.  I served it with a side of roasted brussels sprouts!  The final product, while not beautiful, was incredibly delicious. 

Bison and Red Wine Shepherd's Pie

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