As you learned in the first installment of "Adventures in Odd Meats" Adam and I went to the exotic meat emporium The Healthy Buffalo in Chichester, NH a few weeks ago. While there, we stocked up on an array of meat including the previously blogged about Ground Kangaroo, which turned out not as great as I had hoped although I suspect this had more to do with my own fond memories of one Ms. Kanga than the meat itself. Not to mention that I have since heard from some Aussie blog friends that kangaroo is better in steak form.
In any case our next sojourn into the world of exotic meats is not quite as exotic as the kangaroo. In fact it is a meat that is gaining popularity throughout New England because it is quite lean and a healthier alternative to beef.
My Dances With Wolves fans in the house may know it as Tatanka
Otherwise known as Buffalo!
Now Buffalo burgers are one thing (one delicious thing actually, locals should check out Bison County in Waltham for THE BEST Buffalo burger around), but Buffalo Stew Meat? How would this work?
The answer came to me one surprisingly brisk week in early fall. This week, to be exact. The cool weather gave me a craving for chili and in one epiphanic moment I glanced at the crock pot tucked away next to the toaster oven, remembered the Buffalo Stew Meat in the freezer and hatched a plan.
Operation: Buffalo Chili
Knowing that Buffalo is a very mild meat, very easily flavored by it's surroundings, I went for a spicier chili than I normally would make in order to really pack as much flavor into that lean meat as possible without burning off my own taste buds (I am a spice wuss, I admit). So to create your own Buffalo Chili you will need
1 lb Buffalo Stew Meat
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes with chiles
1 14.5 oz can of plain tomato sauce
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 tsp chile powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 19 oz can of dark red kidney beans
1 large red bell pepper, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 cup shredded cheddar jack cheese.
You will want to get this started the night before because chopping onions first thing in the morning before work is no one's idea of a good time. So chop up that onion and the celery and stick it in a bowl in the fridge the night before.
Also chop your stew meat into 1/2 inch chunks if it didn't already come that way- cover and put in fridge for the night.
(already looking more appetizing than the kangaroo!)
In the morning. Empty the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, onions, celery, spices and meat into the crock pot.
Stir, cover and set on low for about 8 hours. Go to work, and think about your awesome chili cooking at home.
When you arrive home from work, your house will smell DIVINE and you might cry a little because you are so excited. That is okay. Open up that crock pot and look at how yummy it looks.
But you are not done.
Turn the crock pot up to high and add in the chopped pepper and can of kidney beans. Let cook for 15-20 minutes on high until thickened.
If you are a hedonist like me, bake up some corn muffins to serve with it while it's cooking on high.
Then if you are REALLY BAD take a handful of that cheddar jack and sprinkle it on
So there you have it. A fabulous fall meal that's easy to make and cooks while you are at work. Delicious, hearty, a little spicy and a lot satisfying and the buffalo was incredibly tender and tasty. And of course you can play around with meat, vary the tomato/sauce ratio etc. The fact of the matter is, chili is awesome and lends itself to tons of interpretations. So go wild!
(Wild Buffalo, that is)