They’ll feed you plenty — and plenty good — at Triple Creek Ranch. They’ll also teach you to cook.
I threw my bison quesadilla on the grill and waited for it to char. The sizzle mingled with the sound of icicles dripping from the overhang of the cabin. The deck overlooked a large pond surrounded by pine trees. Chef Jacob Leatherman flipped the quesadilla, and soon he and the five of us taking the morning’s cooking class at Triple Creek Ranch headed back inside to sample the latest dish.
Leatherman makes a point of nurturing relationships with the ranchers and farmers in the Bitterroot Valley. “They’re doing some beautiful things with locally raised meats and produce,” he says. And the grilled bison attests.
Flavor exploded out of the quesadilla — smoked cheddar, savory bison, and pico de gallo with bright cilantro, hoisin, and a splash of Clamato juice, which provided a kick of umami.
Later, as bottles of albariño and cabernet sauvignon breathed nearby on the counter, we took turns chopping and brushing pesto on vegetables for the night’s dinner. The guests, serious foodies all, traded stories of other cooking adventures, including using sous vide machines to cook meat in advance of camping trips. That sure beats hot dogs on a stick.
And these quesadillas beat anything you’d get in your favorite restaurant. Luckily, you don’t have to be seriously skilled to make them.
Grilled Bison Quesadillas With Smoked Cheddar Cheese
2 flour tortillas
1 pound bison meat, cooked and sliced thin
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
¼ cup smoked cheddar, grated
¼ cup jack cheese, grated
1 bunch scallions, chopped
Simple Pico de Gallo
1 Roma tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons white onion, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Juice of one lime
1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons Clamato juice
1 teaspoon hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
6 pickled jalapeños, chopped
Combine ingredients for pico de gallo and let it sit out for at least 30 minutes. Combine the cheese, scallions, and cilantro. Assemble quesadillas, making sure to oil the tortillas before putting them on the grill.