Where the buffalo roam. And the carrots are all gilded and sweeeeeet!
Okay, sorry, no more singing. I realize this is my entry for the monthly wine and food pairing event Combinations and not a spaghetti western. But seriously folks, I have a new addiction. Bison.
Since finally jumping in and trying some of the goods from Elk Trail Bison Farm (Saturday’s at the Union Square Green Market), it’s basically all I can think about. The buffalo are, as they should be, free to roam. They’re raised down in Pennsylvania on a purely grass-fed diet. Check out the site, they’re really cute (unless you don’t like knowing that the meat you eat was cute at one time, if that’s the case, don’t check out the site).
Grass-fed bison, and even beef, is much much better for you. It’s leaner, has less cholesterol, more trace minerals and lots of omega fatty acids. Plus, it cooks faster (which is great in this heat) and tastes better.
I wanted a steak that would cook really quickly, so the nice guy at the stand sold me a “butcher steak”. He said it was part of the shoulder, but a little research shows me that it was probably actually a hanger steak or in French, onglet. The two steaks cost about $8 and didn’t shrink up at all. So go on, give bison a try!
To serve, I was thinking traditional steak house fare. Mushrooms. Potatoes. Green beans. But then we saw these baby carrots. Tri-colore no less! And I knew by the look in the boy’s eyes that we had a winner. He also spotted some rocambole (or hard-neck) garlic at a random stand I’ve never seen before, and I can honestly say… Best. Garlic. EVER!
And just because I’ve been on a roll with doing things a little over the top, I threw in some squash blossoms. You know, just because I could…
I steamed the carrots ever so briefly in water and olive oil with garlic and sage. While they were getting a wee bit soft I made a glaze of sherry vinegar, honey and lavender flowers (just a few). While the carrots were glazing, I cooked the bison.
The guy says that since buffalo meat is so very lean, the only way to cook it is lower and slower. I grilled these (sadly inside and on a pan) over medium-low first on one side until the blood rose to the top, then flipped and cooked until just medium rare by touch. I let them sit and rest until the carrots were done and then served the whole thing up!
The dinner was absolutely delicious, healthy and light. And since it was slightly cooler and red meat was involved, I just HAD to have a red wine…. I am getting kinda tired of whites and roses. I miss my reds…
So I broke down and pulled out a bottle I’ve been saving for eons, a 2004 Domaine Rimbert Les Travers de Marceau from Langeudoc. In my house, this is affectionately called “bunny wine” for the odd angly rabbit on the label holding a bunch of grapes. The 2003 Le Mas au Schiste is actually my favorite wine in the entire world, but the Travers is lovely too. It has more fruit, especially dried red fruit than that 2003 which is all about green chilies and roses. If you see anything from this vineyard ever, grab it. Truly delightful!
Head below the jump for the recipe for Gilded Glazed Carrots.
Gilded Glazed Carrots
prep time: 10 minutes ~ cooking time: 15 minutes
- 1 lb baby Carrots, washed and cut evenly into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tbsp Water
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- Sage, sliced
- 3 cloves of the absolute, very best young Garlic you can find, sliced
- Squash Blossoms (about 20), sliced
- 1 tbsp Honey
- 2 tbsps Sherry Vinegar
- 3-4 heads of Lavender blossoms
- Salt & Pepper
In a large saute pan with a lid over medium heat, add the baby carrots. Add the water, olive oil and a healthy pinch of salt. Turn to coat. Add the sage and garlic. Turn to coat. Cover with the lid and allow to steam about 5 minutes or until the carrots are just becoming tender.
Mix the glaze by dissolving the honey in the vinegar. Add the lavender blossoms and set aside.
Remove the lid and add the squash blossoms. Allow to saute until all the extra liquid at the bottom of the pan has disappeared.
Turn the heat up to medium high. Add the glaze and turn to coat. Cook the carrots until all the glaze has disappeared and the carrots are shiny and gorgeous. Allow to cool about 5 minutes. Enjoy!