Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bison Stew!

When you've ordered too much (i.e. everything) at Bison Bar & BBQ on Wellington Quay, don't let any of that delicious meat go to waste- box it up, take it home, and give it the ending it deserves in this smokin' Cajun recipe. The meaty Bison sausage has chorizo in it, so bear that in mind when deciding how much chorizo to put in your stew. Also, the brisket has a strong smoky flavour and the pulled pork has a spice rub, so add your Cajun spices according to how much meat you've got.


Bison leftovers (barbecued beef brisket, pulled pork shoulder, chicken leg, pork ribs in BBQ sauce, sausage and pork chunks from the 'burnt end beans'- also smoky and spicy)
8 1 inch chunks of cooking chorizo (to approx 1/4 of Bison sausage- adjust for more or less)
1 large red onion, roughly sliced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 sticks celery, strings removed (snap the stalks and pull away the strings), sliced on the diagonal
1 red jalapeno pepper, sliced with the seeds
1 medium courgette,  sliced in 1cm slices on the diagonal, then quartered
1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tin black beans, not drained
1 tin good quality chopped tomatoes
400ml good quality beef stock (I'm not precious about this- even Schwarz roast beef gravy would work here and has the added benefit of a thickener)
Cajun seasoning (ready-made spice mix, or try my blend of paprika, hot-smoked paprika, onion salt, dried Italian herbs, Cayenne pepper, cinnamon, fresh ground black pepper)
Hot pepper sauce (I use Mick's Chilli Inferno No.3 made with habanero pepper), I like a good 2tbsp but you can adjust depending on your comfort levels with heat


In a hot, heavy bottomed iron casserole or deep pot, fry off the chorizo and any chicken skin and bones in 1tbsp olive oil over a high heat until the fats are released and there's just a little colour on the sausage.

Add in the onion, garlic, celery and jalapeno, and sautée for 1-2 minutes. Now add the the Cajun seasoning: If you have a lot of brisket then you need no more than 1flat tsp smoked paprika - more if you need to up the smoky flavour. On the basis of having approx 75g each of Bison brisket, pork, and chicken, I added: 1tsp each of paprika, smoked paprika, dried herbs, and 1/2tsp each of onion salt, Cayenne pepper, fresh ground black pepper and a pinch of cinnamon. Coat the vegetables in the seasoning and let it cook off for about a minute.

Add the courgette and chickpeas and cook for a further minute or two, or until the courgette is just becoming tender. Next add the hot pepper sauce and tinned tomatoes, mixing well, followed by the beef stock. If using stock pots such as Knorr, use approx 400ml boiling water. If using a powdered beef gravy or bouillon, add straight to the pot and add water until you have the consistency you want. Add the black beans - if you're not using a thickener these will help to thicken the pot.

Finally, reduce the heat and add the leftover barbecued meat, stirring well to mix it through the stew. Allow to simmer if you need to reduce the liquid and to ensure that all the meat has come up temperature.

You can serve right away, but this is the type of dish that gets better with time. Serve with savoury rice: sautéed okra (if you can get it) peeled/seeded chopped tomatoes, onion and fresh coriander mixed through boiled white rice or whichever type you'd prefer.