I have made a couple of variations of this amazingly delicious, classic dish but after reading Julia & Julia a few years back, I had to check out Julia Child's recipe in Mastering The Art of French Cooking. My modifications to Julia’s recipe were based on using 100% grass-fed bison, my personal taste, and the steps I thought unnecessary.
Specific changes made: I omitted the bacon, as I feel the smokiness overwhelms the dish and added butter for additional flavor and fat. I also used homemade Buffalo Broth, but in a pinch have used organic beef or chicken broth/stock and added celery and brandy. Although a bit more extensive, I thought it was worth the extra steps. Recipe can be made ahead and reheated for entertaining convenience! Fabulous!
Note: I have provided one-pot shortcuts throughout the recipe.
Ingredients for Bourguignon (Serves 6 to 8):
- 2 - pounds Wild Idea Buffalo Stew Meat
- 1 - teaspoon black pepper
- 1 - teaspoon salt
- 3 - tablespoons olive oil
- 1 - tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 - carrot, quartered
- 1 - onion, quartered
- 1 - celery stalk, quartered
- 1 - ounce brandy
- 4 - cups red wine (Bordeaux, Burgundy or Chianti)
- 1 - cup Buffalo Broth, or organic beef or chicken broth
- 1 - teaspoon thyme
- 1 - teaspoon rosemary leaves, finely chopped
- 1 - teaspoon basil leaves
- 2 - bay leaves
- 3 - cloves garlic, minced
- 1 - tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 - tablespoon arrowroot or cornstarch, or more per your thickness preference
- ¼ - cup sherry
- ¼ - cup parsley, chopped fine
Ingredients for Mushrooms & Onions:
- 18 - small white onions
- 1 ½ - tablespoons each butter & olive oil
- ¼ - cup buffalo or other stock
- ¼ - cup red wine
- 4 - parsley sprigs
- 1 - bay leaf
- ½ - teaspoon thyme
- 1 - pound mushrooms, quartered
- 2 - tablespoons butter
- 1 - tablespoon olive oil
Preparations for Bison Bourguignon:
- Pre-heat oven to 325°.
- Rinse bison meat and pat dry, removing all dampness with paper towels. Season meat with salt and pepper.
- In a heavy stockpot, over medium heat add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
- Increase heat to medium high and brown the meat in 3 to 4 batches. Do not hurry to turn, allow the meat to brown. This was tedious, but worth it. Add additional olive oil before each batch as needed.
- Remove the last batch of meat from the pan and drain any oil left in the pan. Add the butter and the quartered vegetables and sauté vegetables for 4 minutes.
- Add the brandy to stockpot and carefully tilt to flame. Or, cover the pot for a minute if you do not want the brandy to flame.
- Return browned meat to stockpot and add 3 cups red wine, stock, herbs, garlic and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer. Cover and place in pre-heated oven.
- Braise bison for 1 hour or until the meat is tender.
- Remove stockpot from oven and discard vegetables. Return meat with juices to the stove top over medium high heat and bring to a simmer.
- Mix the remaining cup of red wine with the thickening ingredient and whisk until smooth.
- Slowly stir into the Bourguignon. Adjust thickness as desired.
- Season sauce to taste and stir in the sherry right before serving.
Preparations for Onions (prepare while Bourguignon is in the oven):
Shortcut: Add the onions and mushrooms directly to the stockpot in step 5 and omit the quartered onion. Do not discard the onions & mushrooms when discarding other quartered vegetables in step 9.
- In an oven proof sauté pan over medium heat, add butter and oil and let come to a bubble.
- Add onions, tossing to brown evenly.
- Add the stock, wine and herbs and bring to a simmer.
- Transfer the sauté pan with the onions to the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until liquids have evaporated.
- Remove from oven and set aside until ready to serve. Reheat if needed.
Preparations for Mushrooms:
- In saucepan over medium heat, add butter and oil and let come to a bubble.
- Add quartered mushrooms. Toss the pan, browning the mushrooms on all sides, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and set aside. Reheat with onions if needed before serving.
To Assemble: Plate the prepared pasta, potatoes or rice and ladle on the Bourguignon, then place the onions & mushrooms on top and sprinkle with parsley. Julia recommends accompanying with minted, buttered peas, but most often I serve a nice green salad, before or after the Bourguignon.
If you like this recipe, take a peek at a French classic with a bison twist, Blanquette de Bison (Bison in Cream Sauce) here.
Photo Credit: Jill O'Brien