Half the vendors were gone last weekend at my farmers’ market – I’m not sure whether it’s the credit crunch affecting business or that it’s the start of the hungry season. Of the stalls that were left, I decided to get some meat from the buffalo meats and cheeses stall. I’ve had their delicious range of cow and buffalo cheeses and milks but never once tried the meats they sell alongside. Not finding the buffalo bresaola I’d had my eye on on previous days, I chose an already rolled and tied piece of meat labelled “For slow or pot roasting only! Very tasty!”. With a label like that, how could I resist? The small vacuum packed roll of organic buffalo meat, about 500g, cost me £4.70.
Now there was the actual matter of what I would do with it! I’d never ever tried pot roasting before but upon reading about it online, it seems quite simple – just slow cooking of a large cut of meat or poultry. I pretty much made up the sauce with whatever I had at hand and served the sliced meat on top of some buttered penne. I think I could have roasted it for an extra hour though as the meat was extremely lean and could have been a little more tender – if you’re using beef, I doubt you’d have this problem. Anyway, if you’re curious, buffalo meat is indeed like beef but a little gamier. The strong flavour of the meat paired favourably with the richness of the sauce.
Pot Roasted Buffalo
a 500g portion of buffalo meat, ready for pot roasting, rolled and tied
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small-medium carrot, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup red wine
2 tbsps tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 stalk fresh rosemary
salt and freshly ground black pepper
sugar, if needed
about 1 tbsp butter, softened
2 tsps flour
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy based pot or casserole over medium heat and brown all sides of the buffalo meat. This will take a little time – be patient! When brown all over, take out the meat and set aside. Add another tablespoon of oil and add in the chopped onion, carrot, celery and garlic and sweat the vegetables. When they’re soft, add the wine, tomato paste, bay leaf and rosemary. Stir through, let bubble a bit, and then put the meat back into the pot. Add enough water to bring the liquid up to a level that covers a third of the meat. Add some salt and pepper and stir through the liquid and bring it to a boil.
When bubbling, cover the pot and reduce the temperature to the lowest (use a heat diffuser if needed) and let it pot roast for three hours, turning the meat every 20 minutes. You might need to adjust the heat to keep the liquid simmering gently.
When the three hours are up, remove the meat, setting it aside and keeping it warm and then turn the heat back up under the pot. Reduce the liquid (I reduced it to about half the original level) and then taste it and make adjustments to the seasoning, adding sugar if necessary – I added about 2 tsps. Mix the butter and flour together into a paste and add it to the liquid – it will thicken almost immediately: this is your sauce. Let it simmer for a few minutes to cook away any raw flour taste.
To serve, slice the roast against the grain and serve with the sauce. I served it all on top of some buttered penne.