Buffalo (Bison) Carbonnade

Carbonnade is the Belgian version of French boeuf bourguignonne, only the meat is braised in dark ale instead of red wine. Chimay — a Belgian ale made by Trappist monks — is traditional in this dish. But you can experiment with other types of ale or even stout (a commenter below asks about using Guinness, which is ideal, and I’ve even used chocolate stout with nice results). Our interpretation uses bison (buffalo) stew meat, which you can find online and in many health-food stores. Ounce, for ounce, it has about 20% fewer calories and half the fat of beef. Grass-fed beef stew meat also works well here. Serve over egg noodles or our Celery Root, Potato and Apple Mash.

buffalo-bison-carbonnade2-3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1-1/2 pounds bison (buffalo) stew meat, cut into 1-1/2 cubes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 medium onion, thinly vertically sliced
2 cups dark ale (such as Chimay Bleu)*
1 cup beef stock
1-1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and swirl in 1 tablespoon oil. Pat meat dry with a paper towel, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow bowl and dredge meat in flour, shaking off excess. Add meat to pan and cook 4-5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. (Brown the meat in batches, using extra oil as needed, so you don’t overcrowd the pan.) Remove meat from pan.

Swirl another tablespoon of oil into the pan. Add onion and saute 5 minutes or until tender. Add ale to pan and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits. Cook 2 minutes or until until ale is reduced by half. Return beef to pan. Add stock. Stir in sugar. Add thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Cover and place in the oven for 2 hours and 15 minutes or until meat is fork-tender. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Adjust seasoning. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Serves 6

*Belgian ales like Chimay typically come in large, 750-ml bottles. If you substitute a dark ale sold in standard 12-ounce bottles, just use 1 bottle in this recipe and increase the stock to 1-1/2 cups.

Super Succulent Five-Spice Pork Shoulder

This ridiculously simple dish is a riff on Carnitas de Lia, another of an endless variation of “dry braises” you can make with your own mix of spices. I like to top bowls of Simple Udon Soup with a generous mound of shreds, or serve an Asian take on fajitas with scallion pancakes, plum sauce and griddled scallions.

2-1/2 tablespoons five spice powder
1 tablespoon coriander
½ to 1 teaspoon ground Szechwan pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3–4 pound boneless pork shoulder roast

Preheat oven to 275. Mix together spices and salt in a small bowl. Take pork out of its netting and rub the spice mixture all over, getting it into the nooks and crannies.

Place pork in a Dutch oven, cover and bake in the oven for 3–1/2 to 4 hours, until pork falls apart with the touch of a fork.

Serves 12

Note: If you’d like to crisp up either medium-sized chunks or fully-shredded meat, saute in a bit of the pork fat or canola oil.

Spiced Pork Roast

This dish is supremely delish with Roasted Winter Veggies. Choosing heritage pork will mean even more flavor. I love leftovers in a sandwich slathered with mustard and dotted with Spicy-Sweet Pickled Cucumbers.

spice-roast-pork-recipe3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground fennel
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
2-1/2 pound boneless pork loin roast

Pound garlic to a paste in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt and grind of pepper. Add thyme and fennel and continue to pound to a paste. Mix in remaining spices and 1 tablespoon olive oil and rub all over pork. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 400. Rub pork with an additional pinch of salt.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sear pork on all sides, about 3-5 minutes total, and transfer pan to oven. Roast for 25-35 minutes, until a thermometer poked into the thickest part reads 150.

Remove from oven to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Serves 6

Short Rib and Cremini Ragu

If you love fork-tender ragu, add short ribs to your repertoire. Back home in Missoula, Montana, on the search for local meat, I met Scott Barger of Mannix Brothers’ Grass Finished Beef, a fifth-generation cattle rancher in the Blackfoot Valley. He said that cuts like short ribs often end up going into their ground beef, simply because folks don’t know how to use them. Like many tougher cuts, short ribs require a longer cooking time for the connective tissues to melt. When they do, the meat becomes fall-apart tender, infusing the sauce with an incredible richness. This ragu can be served two ways: with the rib portions intact over our Creamy Corn Polenta, or you can remove the ribs from the sauce, and once cool enough to handle, shred the meat, discarding bones and excess fat. Toss the meat sauce with a long pasta noodle like fettuccine or tagliatelle.


Lamb Tagine with Preserved Lemon, Dates and Bulgur

North Africa meets the Middle East in this Moroccan-inspired lamb tagine. Ras-al-hanout (translation: “head of the shop”) is a fragrant Moroccan spice blend of cinnamon, black pepper, cumin, coriander, ginger, cayenne, cloves and allspice. You can find it, along with preserved lemons, at gourmet stores, Middle Eastern markets and some large gourmet supermarkets (I found both at Whole Foods). In this dish, whole-grain bulgur stands in for traditional couscous.

lamb-tagine-bulgur1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound lamb stew meat or shoulder roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ras-al-hanout
1 cup water
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped pitted green olives
1/4 cup chopped preserved lemon
1/4 cup chopped pitted dried dates
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup fine- or medium-grain bulgur
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add oil to pan. Generously season lamb with salt and pepper. Add half of lamb to pan, and cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove lamb from pan. Repeat with remaining lamb.

Add onion to pan, and saute 2 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, ras al hanout, salt and pepper; saute 30 seconds or until fragrant. Return lamb to pan. Add water and oregano. Cover, place in the oven, and bake 1 hour. Add chickpeas, olives, preserved lemon and dates. Cover, and bake an additional 30 minutes or until lamb is fork-tender. If the lamb needs more time, put it back in the oven for 15 minutes or until it’s fall-apart tender.

While the lamb cooks, bring chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add bulgur. Cover, remove from heat, and let it stand for 10-20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide bulgur evenly among 4 plates. Top evenly with lamb mixture. Sprinkle evenly with parsley and cilantro.

Serves 4

Grass-Fed Beef Bulgogi

Bulgogi means “fire meat” in Korean and is the name of a beef dish in which paper-thin sliced meat is soaked in a flavorful combo of soy sauce, black pepper, ginger, rice wine, and pureed fruit. In this version, readily available pureed kiwifruit stands in for traditional Asian pear to help tenderize the lean grass-fed beef. To make the beef easier to slice super-thin, pop it in the freezer for 30 minutes. If you don’t feel like firing up the grill, you can stir-fry the beef. Serve in lettuce cups with short-grain brown rice. We also love it on warm tortillas with a dollop of Fiery-Sweet Peach Salsa.

Barbecued Beef Brisket

Beef brisket is a tough cut that lends itself to slowly smoking on the barbecue. Soaking the hardwood is crucial for successful barbecue. As you may have learned while camping, wet wood produces lots of smoke–bad for camp-outs but just what you want for barbecue. For beef brisket and other relatively lean cuts, basting is necessary to keep the meat moist; any kind of high-quality beer will work well in this recipe. Hardwood chunks are ideal, since they burn slowly and produce gentle, consistent smoke.


Braised Rabbit with Easy Pan Sauce

By Alison Ashton

You’ll want a tender “fryer” or “young” rabbit for this recipe; fryers typically weigh less than three pounds. Ask the butcher to cut the rabbit into six serving pieces, which makes this a simple dish you can prepare on a weeknight. If you purchase a whole rabbit, Saveur has helpful instructions for cutting it up. Serve with Oven-Baked Polenta with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes and sauteed spinach.

rabbit-recipe2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) fryer rabbit, cut into 6 serving pieces
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon cold butter
1/4 cup thinly sliced basil
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

Preheat oven to 350.

Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle rabbit with salt and pepper. Add half of rabbit to pan and cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Transfer seared rabbit pieces to a plate and repeat with remaining half of rabbit.

Add onion to pan and sauté 2 minutes. Add wine; cook 1 minute or until wine evaporates, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add broth and seared rabbit. Cover, and cook for 30 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into meaty part of the thigh registers 155. Transfer rabbit to a serving dish and keep warm.

Place sauté pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until pan juices reduce by half. Remove from heat and whisk in butter. Pour sauce over rabbit. Garnish with basil and pine nuts.

Serves 6

Veal Scaloppini with Shallot-Caper Sauce

This dish is a fresh twist on the classic veal piccata. Although it has an air of elegance, this whole dish comes together in less than 15 minutes.

veal-scaloppini-recipe2 teaspoons minced lemon zest
1 tablespoon minced parsley
2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 (4-ounce) veal cutlets, pounded to 1/2-inch thickness
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Place an ovenproof platter on the middle rack.

Mix together lemon zest and parsley in a small bowl, and set aside.

Heat a large skillet (not nonstick) over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter and the oil to pan.

While pan is heating, mix together flour, salt and pepper on a wide plate, and dredge veal cutlets. Swirl the butter and oil around the pan, shake off excess flour from cutlets and sear for about 2 minutes per side. When nicely browned on both sides, transfer to the platter in the oven.

Add shallots to the pan and saute for 3 minutes, until softened and brown. Pour in white wine and cook for 1 minute, while scraping up the browned bits in the pan (the fond) with the flat edge of a stiff spatula.

Remove pan from heat and swirl in remaining 1 tablespoon butter, lemon juice and capers. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

Serve cutlets drizzled with sauce and sprinkled with lemon zest and parsley.

Serves 4

Spiced-Rubbed Skirt Steak

Skirt steak is a great choice for a weeknight meat craving: It cooks up superfast and takes great to rubs. A few slices served with a plateful of veggies (like our Romaine Slaw) and whole grains (like our Herb-Flecked Bulgur) brings something traditionally thought of as a nutritional no-no (steak) into a more nourishing category. Make up a big batch of the spice rub to keep on hand for even faster dinners on the fly.