So, just to give you all an update: I am in Cartagena Colombia this week. This is my first trip to Colombia, or anywhere in South America (though I’ve been to Central America, and the Caribean many times) and I am not going to hide my excitement! A quick search on the internet (and I’ve been doing a lot of those about Cartagena lately) reveals that it has a huge amount of history. I’ve known of Cartagena for some time, as it was basically the Pirate capitol of the world, while there were still pirates roaming the seas. Some of the things that I am most excited about: the foods, the culture, and the history of such an ancient city!
I am expecting great things from the foods: Cartagena is a port city, so the seafood should be fresh, delicious, and I am really hoping there is a whole seafood food culture there that I will be able to learn about and appreciate while I’m there! Maybe I’ll come home with a few new recipes! Also, as I understand it, grass-fed beef is much more prevalent in South America than it is here. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons people talk about how good the steak is in Argentina – because they keep the grass-fed steak there, and ship the grain-fed stuff back to the US for sale. That’s what I would do!
Bison “Stew Meat”, Baked Peppered Endives, and What you’ll need:
- 1lb Bison “Stew Meat” (this is just the name of the “cut”)
- 1 large red Belgian Endive, cut in half
- 1 Cucumber, sliced
- 4 tablespoons Coconut Oil
- Fresh Pepper
- 2 cloves Garlic, crushed and diced
- Sea salt/pepper for the bison as desired
About 40 minutes before meal time, start by putting the bison stew-meat in a pan with the garlic and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Bison is an incredibly lean meat, as is grass-fed beef, so you may find you need to supplement the oil in the cooking. If it’s really fresh though, there are likely plenty of non-oil juices still in the beef which will put plenty of liquid in to the pan while it’s cooking. Just use a slightly lower temperature, and keep it covered, and the meat will provide all the liquid you need. Since that’s mostly my preferred method of cooking anyway, I use the coconut oil only because I really like the flavor – it provides, to my tongue at least, a sweetness that I really enjoy!
Prepare the carrots and endive now. In fact, depending on how soft you like your carrots to be when you serve them, you may want to start cooking them now too. I like them to retain some of their crispness, so I do the carrots in the last 5 minutes before the meal. But since you have time, now is the time to cut them up and be ready.
If you have time: I suggest cooking the bison for 90 minutes instead of 40. It will cook just fine in 40 minutes, but if you can stretch it out to 90, or more, the texture of the meat will be much better as it begins to have that “stewed meat” texture. I did a bison steak while I was doing my bone broth recently, and it was just incredible! So, the longer you can manage to cook the Bison meat for, the better your eating experience will be.
About 23 minutes before the meal pre-heat the oven to 325. We’re cooking the endive now. It has a very sharp flavor, and I found that if you bake it, the heat and oil can polish the rough edges of the flavor. It can be quite nice if it’s done right! Oil a baking pan and place the endive halves center down in the pan. This will let the center of the endive heat up with the heat of the pan, and the oil will start to work it’s magic on the central portion. You’ll be turning it over later, and applying the ground pepper, but for the first part of it’s baking, it’s important that it have direct access to the heat of the metal pan.
Once the endive is on the pan, go ahead and put it directly in the oven. There’s no need to wait for it to reach temperature, unless it’s a programming thing with your oven. I don’t have that problem, mine is old-fashioned; I turn it on, set the temperature, it beeps when it gets to temperature, and I leave it alone until I’m ready. I have to watch my watch carefully, though, since it’s so old that it doesn’t have a timer!
About 8 minutes before dinner, open the oven and using tongs flip the endives over. You’ll want to be gentle, since these are somewhat fragile. But don’t lose sleep over your technique – they’re not rising bread and you won’t ruin the loaf if you squeeze too hard. Once the center part is up, go ahead and sprinkle fresh ground pepper over it, letting it fall down inside the endive. This will turn out to be quite delicious! Go ahead and put them back in the oven once you’ve peppered them.
As you finish with the endive, you may want to get started with your carrots. A little tip: I always try to use exactly the right amount of water to be evaporated off during the cooking/steaming process. I think that the nutrients which are pulled out of the carrots by being steamed will be picked up when I serve them, provided I boil off all the water. So I am sparing with the water.
- Have you ever eaten Bison?
- What’s your favorite way to prepare it?
- Do you like a particular side dish with it?
- How about a particular dressing or sauce?