Real Recipe: Bison (or Beef) Braised in White Wine, Finished with Figs and Raisins

By Mario Fiorucci, Co-Founder of The Healthy Butcher

About this recipe.

This recipe is one of my all time favourites.  Most people automatically assume that beef or bison, being big red meat, must be paired with red wine when stewed; on the contrary, white wine works wonders to bring out the delicate flavour of quality red meat.  The addition of figs and raisins brings sweetness at an equal level to the savoriness of a meat stew.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lbs beef stew or bison stew or beef blade steaks or bison blade steaks
  • Olive oil and butter
  • 3 carrots
  • 3-4 celery stalks
  • 6 or so garlic cloves
  • 4 cups beef stock (if bison or game stock is available, go with that!)
  • 2-3 cups white wine
  • 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Good handful of dried figs
  • Good handful of raisins (I prefer golden or Sultanas, but any raisins will do)
  • Salt and pepper
  • A large pot, preferably an enameled cast iron French oven about 5-6 litres.

Directions:

1. Season the blade steaks generously with salt and pepper. Heat the pot and place butter and olive oil inside. Sear the meat on both sides (you’ll have to do this in batches, don’t crowd the meat), then remove from heat and set aside.

2. Add vegetables and garlic and sweat over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen the browned bits (deglazing).

3. Add wine and reduce at least half way.

4. Place meat back in pan, add stock to just barely cover the meat, then bring to a bare simmer (add more wine if you wish as well).  Add thyme and bay leaves, and check the seasoning of the liquid. It should be fully seasoned now so add salt and pepper if it is needed. Cover with a tight fitting lid and continue cooking on stove top or in oven at 300˚F to 325.

5. After about 2 hours, remove the meat and strain the liquid.  Add back the meat, figs and raisins, bring back to a bare simmer.   Depending on the pot you are using and the exact quantity of meat, it will another hour or two before it is finished.  Remove the meat when “fork-tender”.  The meat will get very tough during the cooking process so don’t worry.  If you are using blade steaks instead of stewing meat, they will fall apart so you may find it best to separate nice pieces of meat and serve on top of a bed of mashed potatoes or yams.

6. About 15 minutes before serving, strain some of the braising liquid into a pot or saucier and reduce it until thick; drizzle this sauce over your finished dish.  Enjoy!

Enjoy!