Bison (or buffalo) meat was not very popular in Europe, but recently many farmers breed this animal
ingredients for 4 servings (cost about 7 € pp)
- 800 g buffalo shoulder or neck
- EV sunflower oil
- 2 medium onions
- 1,2 litre vegetable stock
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 large carrots
- 8 very small onions
- Coarse pepper
- Fresh rosemary
- 200 g polenta flour
- 40 g butter
- 100 g parmesan cheese
Eboli is a small town on the road from Naples to Potenza, the capital of the Basilicata region in Southern Italy. It is well known from Carlo Levi´s masterpiece “Christ stopped at Eboli” and also from the immense farms of buffalos, animals which produce the famous “mozzarella di bufala”.
Buffalo meat is a prime one, much better than beef, as it contains less fats and less collagens. Its price is acceptable (about 15 euros per kilo), thinking that it is a semi-wild animal which lives in open air. In Greece, buffalo is produced at the lake Kerkini, near Salonica and it can be found at every good butcher shop.
What have we already learned? That the best pieces for braising are the shoulder and the neck.
What else do we have to do each time we want to prepare meat? To pre-salt it.
So, the day before, we take a whole piece of shoulder and we pre-salt it.
The next day we wash it well and we pat it dry.
Then we cut the meat in small but even pieces.
We chop the onions and we put them in a Dutch Oven in EV sunflower oil to be subfried. If we have a mild olive oil, we can also use that.
In a pan we lightly brown the meat pieces, in batches. The whole procedure must be fast and light because, if we overbrown the meat, it will become dry and hard to eat. When we finish, we put a glass of water in the pan and we deglaze the proteins, scrapping the pan with a wooden ladle.
When the onion has become very soft, we add the deglazed proteins, the stock and some salt.
We bring to simmer, we add the meat and we let it cook at a very low temperature for a few hours (depending on the meat and the exact cooking temperature). Must be between 2 and 3.
Meanwhile, we cut the carrots in oblique shapes and we boil them in salty water till tender.
We turn the oven on and we roast at low to medium temperatures (+-150 Celsius degrees) the onions and the garlic cloves (whole, with the skin) for 30 minutes.
When the meat is ready, we turn off the heat, we add the aromatic vegetables and we let them rest taking care of the sauce composition. We check the salt and add some, if required.
While the meat is resting, we prepare the polenta.
We bring to boil 1,5 litre water. We sift the polenta flour and we slowly add it into the boiling water. We reduce the heat and we wait till all the amount of water is absorbed. During this time we stir frequently with a wooden ladle in order to obtain a smooth result without lumps. When almost ready we add some salt, the butter and the parmesan.
We serve the meat with the polenta, adding some chopped fresh rosemary and coarse black pepper.