Photography: Jason McConathy/Courtesy Cook Street School of Fine Cooking
Photography: Jason McConathy/Courtesy Cook Street School of Fine Cooking

This hearty stew squashes the winter chill.

Carole Peck, executive chef of Good News Cafe in Woodbury, Connecticut, celebrates comfort food with her seasoned buffalo stew. A healthy and hearty combination of bison, fresh tomatoes, and green olives, seasoned with fresh rosemary, garlic, savory, and basil, this stew warms the soul and chases away the chill on a blustery winter day.

Seasoned Buffalo Stew With Tomatoes and Green Olives

(Serves 8 – 10)

2 cups olive oil
2 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
6 sprigs fresh savory or thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, chopped
½ tablespoon fresh chilies, chopped (or ½ teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground fennel seeds
½ teaspoon allspice
3½ – 4 pounds buffalo shoulder or rump steak, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
3 pounds fresh ripe tomatoes (may substitute 2 large cans of plum tomatoes in purée)
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 sprigs basil leaves
¼ cup balsamic or red wine vinegar
2 cups large green imported olives

Combine 1 cup of the olive oil with rosemary, savory or thyme, garlic, chilies, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

Combine coriander, fennel, and allspice in a sauté pan and heat over medium heat until they begin to smell fragrant. Combine with the herbs in the bowl. Add the buffalo cubes, toss to coat, and marinate in the refrigerator for 24 – 48 hours.

Pour ¾ cup of olive oil on a baking sheet with sides, spread out the marinated buffalo, and place in a 450-degree oven to brown, turning meat once to brown other side.

If using fresh tomatoes, wash and core, then blanch in rapidly boiling water to easily remove skins. Cut the skinned tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds; coarsely chop by hand or use a food processor. (If using canned tomatoes, drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving the juice. Then break open tomatoes over a bowl to catch additional juice and chop coarsely. Strain the reserved tomato liquid and add to the chopped tomatoes.)

Heat the remaining ¼ cup olive oil in a 4-quart pot over high heat. Add the onions; cook 2 – 3 minutes to soften. Add the basil and vinegar; cook 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes with liquid, stir in the buffalo, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the olives and continue to cook for approximately 25 – 30 more minutes. Halfway through the cooking proc­ess, taste the stew and add optional honey if the tomatoes are very acidic. Serve with orzo pasta, rice, or potatoes.

Recipe courtesy Carole Peck, executive chef of Good News Cafe in Woodbury, Connecticut.

From the February/March 2013 issue.

Explore:Food & Spirits