Succulent Bison Bourguignon

bison-bourguignon To say that Bison Bourguignon is just bison stew is like saying Michael Phelps is just a swimmer.  Yes, this French favorite has many of the ingredients of a "stew," but like the French do with food, they've kicked this one up several notches.  This has some flavors you've never tasted in a stew. One of the problems for people who like great food (especially French food) is that almost all French food has wine or brandy or both as one of the ingredients.  We've been getting several requests for French food without the alcohol for those who abstain, so we're going to list the traditional ingredients and the substitutes.  If you're wondering, yes, it is possible to have fantastic French food without the alcohol. Read on to find out how you can make the best bison "stew" ever made.  This is fantastic and you won't want to miss it!   Ingredients: 2-4 lbs. Bison Steak      This is going to slow cook for awhile, so you don't need to use the most expensive cut of meat to get a good result.  We recommend bison sirloin. 2 Onions      Any white or yellow onion will do.  Some people use pearl onions and they are spectacular, but you could use the root end of green onions in their place if you can't find them fresh.  Leave the onions in big chunks.  They will cook down a lot, and you don't want them to disappear. 1 lb. Mushrooms      If you like things to have a really earthy flavor, portabello mushrooms go extremely well with bison.  Mushrooms are one of those things you can't use too much of so if you like more, go for it.  Again, big chunks. 8 oz. Bacon      Get a good bacon that is smoked.  This would be a good place to use maple syrup bacon if you have it.  If not, any good smoked bacon will work.  Bacon should be sliced up into about 1.5" squares. 2 cups Broth      If you've been making bison bone broth, this is a good place to use it.  If not, beef broth will work.  The fresher and the higher quality broth you use the better the recipe will turn out. 3 tsp. Garlic      This is finely chopped, not minced.  It's a subtle difference, but it makes a difference.  Be sure to use fresh garlic, not powder or something from a jar. 3/4 cup Cognac or Juice      This is one of those places where you can deviate.  Cognac is the traditional flavoring, but peach juice or apricot juice works nicely too.  If you use nectar, be sure you strain out the pulp. 1 bottle Red Wine or 4 cups Pomegranate Juice      Again, if you don't want to cook with wine, pomegranate juice adds a very pleasing and unique flavor. Carrots      Some people like them, some don't.  If you do you could put a couple of coarsely chopped carrots in.  If not, don't use them.  They don't add much to the flavor, but the color is nice in the finished dish.  You decide. 1/2 cube Butter      If you're a butter snob, you'll want to use unsalted butter here.  If not, use whatever you have. 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour      We'll be thickening the recipe with flour.  You may not use all this, but it's good to have it ready to go if you need it. Salt and Pepper    You'll want a good kosher or sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  This is one recipe where the pepper brings quite a bit to the party, so don't be afraid to use it. Instructions: We're going to start with a big deep fry pan or dutch oven.  You're going to want to cook the bacon first over medium heat.  Don't get crazy and cook the life out of the bacon.  You don't want it crispy.  When the bacon is cooked, take it out with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Next in are the onions.  You're going to want to cook them until they go past clear and start into brown.  When you've cooked the onions, take them off and set aside.  Next in is the bison steak cubes and the mushrooms.  Put a tbs. of butter in before the meat, and turn up the heat.  You're going to want to sear the meat, but not cook it.  A minute on each side is more than enough.  If you have to much meat to get it seared all at once, do it in batches.  When the meat is seared, take it out and set aside. Now add everything back into the pan and add your cognac (or juice.)  If you're using cognac, you're going to have to burn off the alcohol, carefully.  If you don't know how to do that, check YouTube before you start cooking.  After you've burned off the alcohol, you can add the wine or pomegranate juice and just enough broth to cover the meat.  Bring all that to a very low simmer. Cook the ingredients for about 20 - 30 minutes, or until everything is done.  Finally, add two Tbs. of butter and 3 Tbs, of the flour to the mixture and stir to combine.  Then bring the mixture up to a boil.  Once it's boiling, turn off the burner and let it rest for 10 minutes. This meal can be served over noodles, over French bread, over rice, or just in a bowl by itself.  You can garnish with parsley if you want.  It adds a nice color.  Don't be afraid to make ahead and put in the fridge.  After a couple of days of being refrigerated, the flavors really come together in a unique way.  This is truly one of those meals that is actually better the second or third day. Let us know how you like Bison Bourguignon.  There's nothing else like it in the whole world.  We'd love to hear what you think.  Drop a comment in the box below or email your comments to us here at www.intermountainbison.com

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