Thursday, November 5, 2009

Making the Most of Buffalo Roast -- Dinner + Pizza

Now that certain members of the family have been told by a medical doctor to cut cholesterol intake, I am planning to use even more buffalo. I have been a fan of buffalo for many years, as a magnificent creature, symbolic of America's natural greatness (European conquerors aside) and as a holistic food source.

After the cholesterol report came in, I pondered pizza for several days. I had finally vanquished the gluten free bear in terms of finding a solution that works in our household: inexpensive, easy to prepare, nutritious and delicious to everyone. After some failed experiments, I located a good recipe for a quick and easy, pourable crust in a cookbook by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt, pages 50 & 51.

Even Hubbers, otherwise known as Mr. GlutenBomb, likes it a LOT. I started using Applegate Farms pepperoni and salami as toppings to ensure that we get gluten free variety in our toppings. I found good, organic Fontina cheeses at Whole Foods and PCC locally. Used sparingly, this is a cheese that I can tolerate occasionally, although I am clinically allergic to cow's milk.

Most of these toppings went off the menu with the new finding, at least until the statins kick in. So now what?

Suddenly, it dawned on me. Very lean buffalo, if raised without hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, etc, is one of the healthiest protein choices that omnivores can make. Our Thanksgiving Feast always includes an entree that honors Native American food traditions in appreciation for their expertise in helping white settlers to survive the wilderness conditions they encountered in the New World, so I have worked with buffalo for some time.

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(Photo courtesy of AmericanGourmet)

With my very next trip to Whole Foods, I discovered a lovely buffalo roast on sale and I brought it home, along with some fresh fennel and Granny Smith apples.

Buffalo is so lean that it can yield an extremely dry result unless carefully prepared.  I like to brine my buffalo prior to roasting.  In this case, I brined the roast in a combo of equal parts (1.5 Cups) dry red wine and apple-blackberry cider with a 1/4 Cup of wheat-free Tamari sauce and 1 teaspoon of Kathy Casey's French Seasoning Salt.  This was rested in the fridge for 24 hours or more and lovingly turned occasionally.

At roasting time, I braised the roast on all sides to a beautiful dark shade.  I removed the long stalks from my fennel and laid these across the bottom of the roaster as a bed for the buffalo, then placed the roast in the center.  This step keeps the protein from being scorched on the bottom.  I cubed the fennel bulb, along with some shallots, then washed and cored the apples.  These were all scattered around the roast to fill in the gaps.  A splash of wine and some jasmine green tea were added to the pot to provide some steamed-in moist seasoning during cooking.

I roasted the buffalo uncovered at 500 degrees for 15 minutes.  This step destroys any microbes on the food surfaces and further seals exposed edges.  Next, step the heat down to 325 degrees and roast for 3 hours, covered.  Rest the entree for 15 minutes after roasting.

Meanwhile, boil down the marinade and add 1.5 Cups of almond milk with 2 tablespoons of tapioca starch.

Carve the roast and serve with gravy and roasted veggies on the side.


Process remaining gravy and all remaining roasted apples, shallots, fennel using stick blender.  Add 1/2 Cup of tomato juice or sauce and process until smooth.  It should be thick as ketchup.  If it isn't, simmer on cooktop to reduce liquid.

Process the remaining buffalo roast in food processor.

Layer the sauce on your favorite gluten free pizza crust, then top it with the ground buffalo.  Sprinkle with your favorite blue cheese and broil for 4 - 5 minutes, until the cheese melts a little.  Most De-LISH-ious pizza ever!

Substitution: Since blue cheese can trigger a migraine, I actually did half blue for Mr. Wonderful and half Chevre for me.  It was so good, I ate it for breakfast next day!  I unabashedly admit the blue side was even better!

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