Bison Tenderloin Steaks at the White House

Because South Dakota bison steaks were the center of the plate for the 2013 Inaugural Luncheon, I was asked by a local newspaper to re-create the Bison portion of the menu. After reviewing the menu and the recipes, I decided to give the whole menu a try. Below are each of the recipes in their original form, with my notes in italics. It was great fun and a wonderful learning experience. I hope you enjoy some of the recipes too and have the opportunity to create your own Inaugural Meal, presidential or otherwise. Cheers! Jill (Makes 4 servings)
Bison Tenderloin Steaks at the White House Recipe

Bison Steaks

Due to a blizzard, outdoor grilling was not an option. I prepared steaks as listed below, but replaced minced garlic with garlic powder, because it will burn. I seared the tenderloin steaks in a 500*+ cast iron skillet for 3 minutes each top & bottom, and seared the sides until just brown, about a minute total. Remove steaks and cover, allowing to rest for 5 minutes before serving. I did not use hickory, as indoor cooking did not allow. Although I have not tried hickory smoked tenderloin, with the other flavors would not probably use.  


  • 4 - 5 oz. Petite Tenderloin Filets
  • 1 - tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 - tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 - tablespoon rosemary, fresh, rough chopped
  • 1 - tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 - teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 - quart hickory wood chips, for grilling


  1. Marinate bison steaks overnight with oil, garlic, rosemary and black pepper.
  2. Remove the steaks from the refrigerator, remove the large pieces of rosemary and then season with salt and pepper on all sides of bison.  Allow the steaks to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes to allow the salt to dilute and penetrate the meat.
  3. For grilling of the steaks, you will need to soak the wood chips in warm water for 30 minutes prior to grilling.  The wood chips should be added to your charcoal 5 minutes prior to grilling to allow them to burn and produce the necessary smoke you will need for the flavor in the steaks.
  4. Grill steaks on each side for approximately 5-8 minutes for a medium rare steak, depending on thickness of the pieces.  Remove from grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes prior to serving.

Wild Huckleberry Reduction

I made my own demi glace, used blueberries instead of huckleberries (very close to the same), but otherwise followed the recipe. The recipe states to use the blueberries when cooking and when finishing, I used them when cooking, but would add a few at the end for presentation. In making other like fruit sauces, I have found that tarter fruits such as chokecherries or plums, complement the grassiness of the meat a bit better, allowing the real meat flavor to shine through. I would also omit finishing the sauce with butter and chocolate. Although the sauce was very good, I might save it for a fuller bodied roast or cut.


  • 4 ounces veal demi glace, can be purchased at gourmet markets or online
  • 1 cup huckleberries, fresh (when in season) or frozen
  • 1 teaspoon bitter chocolate
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups port wine
  • 1 cup mirepoix, (medium dice of carrot, celery, onion and leek)
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil


  1. In a heavy sauce pot, sauté mirepoix for 8 minutes on med heat.
  2. Add the port wine, 1 cup of the huckleberries and demi glace allowing this to reduce by half.  Strain through a sieve and return to a clean sauce pot.
  3. Prior to serving bring sauce to simmer and add the chocolate, huckleberries and butter.  Serve

Pureed Butternut Squash

This dish turned out very nicely. I followed per instructions and seasoned with a little more salt and a squeeze of lemon juice to liven it up.


  • 1/2 piece butternut squash, approximately 2 pounds, roasted
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 pinch white pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup, medium amber


  1. Pre heat oven to 400º F, place squash with cut half facing down on a sheet pan in oven and cook until tender, approximately 25 minutes.
  2. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Scoop flesh into a blender using a spoon.
  3. Place the butter, maple syrup, salt and pepper into blender.  Puree on high speed until smooth, adjusting the seasoning as needed.  Place puree in a small sauce pot and cover.

Baby Golden Beets and Green Beans

Unfortunately and fortunately I was unable to find golden beets or fresh green beans. With all of the other flavors going on, my palate was happy for the simplicity of blanched asparagus. I used a method of preparation from Mark Bittman. Peel asparagus stalks, reserve peelings, slice stalks on the bias, leaving tips whole. I did blanch the stalks and tips for 30 seconds in salted, boiling water. Toss asparagus, including pealing with a drizzle of olive oil. Delicious and easy!


  • 8 each baby golden beets, peeled, cut in half
  • 4 ounces green beans, ends snipped, cut 1 inch on bias
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon shallot, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 pinch white pepper
  • 2 quarts water


  1. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and add ½ tablespoon kosher salt.
  2. Place beets into water gently and allow to cook for 5 minutes or until tender.  Remove beets using a strainer and set in a bowl.
  3. Allow water to return to a boil and gently add the green beans for 3-4 minutes until tender.  Remove the beans from the pot using a strainer and add to the bowl with the beets.
  4. Place olive oil in a sauté pan on medium heat, add the shallots to cook until tender. Add the beets and beans and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Red Potato Horseradish Cake

I prepared as recipe suggested, but thought the salt and cream might be a little much, so I added salt to taste, (about 1½ tsp.) during the mashing and used only 2 Tb. of the cream. I did press into a cake and broil as recommended. This was a good dish, but preferred it as a mash, as it left it a bit cleaner in taste .


  • 1 pound red potato, medium sized, cut 1 inch dice, skin on
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard, whole grain
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 cup chives
  • 1/2 gallon water
  • 1 cup micro greens, available at specialty markets


  1. Place potatoes, ¼ to ½ gal water (or just enough to cover potatoes) and 1 tablespoon salt in a heavy bottom pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Allow to simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes until tender.  Drain water and allow to sit in strainer for 5 minutes to allow all water to drain.
  3. Place potatoes, Dijon, horseradish, 2 tablespoons butter, heavy cream, remaining salt, pepper and chives back into the same pot you used to boil potatoes.
  4. With a large kitchen spoon, stir and smash potatoes until mixed but still chunky.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop, portion a 3 oz. scoop onto a greased baking sheet.  Form potatoes into a cake shape and top with remaining 1 tablespoon of butter dividing equally among the 10 cakes.
  6. Place potatoes under the broiler for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown

Strawberry Preserve and Red Cabbage

This sounded so curious to me. The end result was very good, and complimented all of the other dishes nicely. After cooking for two hours, I became a bit impatient and turned the heat up to speed things along. My total time was 2.5 hours. A sweet and tangy flavor, that was good warm, but delicious room temp or chilled.


  • 1/4 red cabbage, shaved thin
  • 1 pint apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1/4 cup strawberry preserves
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt


  1. Place the cabbage, vinegar, sugar and water in large heavy bottom pot.
  2. Bring liquid to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 2 to 3 hours or until liquid has reduced to a syrup like consistency, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the strawberry preserves to the cabbage and stir until fully incorporated.  Adjust sweetness with salt if too sweet to your liking.
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  • Hi Diane – I believe the each is a typo, and that the recipe is for 4, although it has been awhile since I prepared it.
    Best of luck with your cooking. jill

    Jill O'Brien
  • above recipes look wonderful and I am planning to replicate for a special meal… only question is about the amount of red cabbage….how much to use? It says 1/4 each is that per person or total of 1/4 of one red cabbage Thanks
    Love your products and your books…hope to return to Black Hills for good in next few years, but until then will continue having your bison shipped to wherever I am…. Diane

    Diane Dulude

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