Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Bison Ragu Try Two

I want to perfect bison ragu. Perfection is the theme of the next several entries because in the past I've made entries that needed work and not put in that work to show you. The bison ragu shows so much promise that it's the first recipe to go through the refining wringer.

Preparing for this version involved some research into a traditional ragu. Many different meats show up in ragu, but they almost always involve a pork product and beef. Apart from cheese they usually take dairy in the form of milk. Of course wine gets involved in many recipes as well.

Bison ragu is not new, but most recipes I've found take off from a Classic Ragù recipe in Bon Appétit. This takes the Italian version of a mirepoix, a soffritto, as a base, adds the meats and other ingredients, and allows to stew.

Essentially I feel a ragu is a stew over pasta and I'm trying to find my way to a recipe that emphasizes the meat, melds it with the pasta, and gives it a chunky (yet soft) texture. Think of a hearty stroganoff.

Interestingly enough the two bison ragu recipes I found seem to take off directly from Bon Appétit's. It might be a consequence of most ragu being made that way, but still interesting. The most-direct contributor to this recipe was from Foodie Reflections. I found that recipe through Whipped the Blog, whose recipe helped me find my way through what I wanted to do.

Here I cooked the soffritto next to the ground bison. 

You can see the payoff when mixing the bison and soffritto. It looks inviting, I'm sure you can guess it smells great through the picture, and onions and garlic obviously can help make anything taste great. 

Here we've added the fresh tomatoes, some beef stock, and some peppers.

The final product found great success with my guests, who brought me the fantastic cabernet sauvignon below.

For the next iteration of the bison ragu I do think I need to add some creaminess and a more reduced texture. For that I think I'll need cheese and time. Hope you stick with me!

Your soundtrack for this entry: Van Halen - Running with the Devil.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Spiced Tuna with Fresh Avocado and Mango

For a while now I've had an idea in my head about seared strips of tuna. This isn't that idea, but it's the first experiment toward it. Right up front I'll say the accompaniments were improvised, but in the right direction and the tuna should be of a higher, sushi quality seared at a higher temperature for less time.

Here I trimmed down a tuna steak to the best parts. This definitely requires a higher-grade of tuna, preferably something that wasn't still frozen this morning. That way the strips won't be quite so rough in places.

This is a mixture of extra hot Indian chili powder, cumin, coriander, and salt. The chili powder overwhelmed the other spices, so I can cut back on that.

Here's one shot of the final dish. The avocado was perfect, but I really need a better-quality mango as this wasn't the sweetest it could be.

The tuna came out tasty, but not quite how I want. The sear really ended up cooking it through. In itself not bad, but not what I was going for with this dish. As well the coating of sesame seeds didn't stick evenly, though I didn't want to cook them on the tuna as they'd get burnt.

Next time I'm going to try halving the extra hot chili powder, better tuna, and a little more sesame oil. I also think an acid needs to be in this dish to break down and cut through some flavours.

Your soundtrack for this entry: Aesop Rock - Save Yourself.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Bison Burgers

While he hasn't posted any of his banked entries yet, my friend Sal has just started Sal Eats Jeremy's Dinner. This blog will chronicle Sal's eating of my dinner, in case you didn't catch that from its name. Sal runs an independent IT business, bartends at one of my favourite local haunts, and between the two of us we basically know everyone in Astoria. He's also a frequent guest at dinner and probably my best friend.

Praise being done, I had Sal over for some bison burgers and hand-cut fries the other night.

Two potatoes met their end to my sharp chef's knife.

Bison patties mixed with diced jalapenos and salt and pepper cooking with some sliced onion.

The final juicy product topped with fried onions, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, dijon mustard, and ketchup on a sesame seed bun.

Sal and I were trading songs on Spotify afterward and enjoying some Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA. If it wouldn't kill me I'd drink that all day every day.

Your soundtrack for this entry: Metric - Collect Call.