Home Grown Chef: Braised Buffalo

photo by Charlotte Dupont


Tim Eckard from The Heathman Restaurant & Bar in Portland shares his favorite way to cook bison.

2 1/2 pounds buffalo cheeks, cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt
Black pepper, cracked
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup speck, finely diced
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine (Burgundy or pinot noir)
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cups beef stock
1/4 cup foraged mushrooms (chanterelle, lobster, morel or porcini), sliced
1/2 cup lacinato kale, julienned
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Pappardelle pasta
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated

Pat-dry cheeks, sprinkle with salt, pepper. Heat heavy-bottomed pan at medium-high; add oil.

When oil emits a wisp of smoke, add cheeks, brown them, and remove with slotted spoon.

Add speck, onion, carrot, celery and garlic.

Reduce heat to medium; cook until translucent and soft. Add tomato paste; cook another minute. Deglaze pan with wine, scraping off crisp remnants. Reduce wine by two-thirds.

Add bay leaf, thyme and beef stock. Simmer, add cheeks. Remove from heat and cover. Place pan in oven at 300 degrees F for 90 minutes to 2 hours or until fork tender.

Add mushrooms and kale. Simmer on stove over medium-low heat. Add butter. Reduce until it coats back of spoon. Salt and pepper to taste. Coat evenly over pappardelle.

Grate Parmigiano-Reggiano over top.

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