Navajo Bison and Corn Dumpling Stew


This light stew allows each ingredient to stand on its own. Although you immediately think hearty comfort food, this dish has more of an elegant taste and finish. A new favorite!

 (Serves 8)

Ingredients: For Stew:

  • 2 lbs. Bison Stew Meat, rinsed and patted dry                                                             
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 celery stalks with leaves, sliced, divide into 2 piles
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 ½ quarts vegetable stock or organic chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 red potatoes, cubed (can substitute yams)
  • 5 carrots, halved and sliced

For Dumplings:

  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • ½ cup frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk


  1. Season meat with salt and pepper, tossing to coat.
  2. In heavy stock pot, over med-high to high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of oil.
  3. Add half of stew meat and cook until brown, stirring occasionally. Transfer browned meat to a bowl, and repeat above step with remaining half.
  4. Return first batch of browned stew meat back to the pot and add the onion, garlic, half of celery and spices. Stir to incorporate and cook until vegetables are tender.
  5.  Stir in stock and tomato paste, and bring to a boil.
  6. Add potatoes and let come to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 45 minutes or until stew meat is tender.
  7. Add carrots and remaining celery and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  8. During last stages of braising combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt.
  9. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.  Add 1 cup frozen corn and stir to incorporate.
  10. Stir in milk to form dough.
  11. Drop round tablespoons of dough into simmering pot. Cover and simmer for 12 minutes.

To serve, spoon stew onto individual plates, placing dumplings on top.  Serve with my friend Sue’s, Kale Salad, (recipe included with purchase). Wine Pairing: Tempranillo, Bodegas Barco de Piedra, Ribera del Duero, Spain. A nicely rounded combination of fruit and earth, with lively acidity.

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