It was about this time that I discovered the PBS series, Great Chefs of the West. I loved the dishes that the chefs prepared so much that as soon as I could I called the 800 number at the end of the show and ordered my companion book. This TV series and cookbook sparked a curiosity of blending favors and cooking in me that I still enjoy. I guess it is my Texas roots, but throw in an ancho chile or a little bit of bacon grease into anything and I am in heaven.
Now all these years later I am thrilled to have a new book of recipes from some other great chefs of the west courtesy of my friend and fellow blogger, Michele Morris. Chef, instructor and author of the food blog Cooking With Michele, she has painstakingly compiled 120 recipes from all over the state for her new book, Tasting Colorado. Reminiscent of my well loved Great Chefs of the West cookbook, it features not only recipes from Michele herself, but also from award winning cooks, and chefs from restaurants, guest ranches and resorts located around the state.
Beautifully written and photographed, this book is pretty enough for the coffee table, but definitely belongs in the kitchen. The recipes contained in these pages are not only representative of Colorado's love of fresh, local ingredients, but also offers several that display our more sophisticated side and fondness for contemporary global cuisine.
Whether you are a Coloradoan who would like to make Fruition's ricotta cheese cake at home, or a tourist who wants to recreate the tastes of a memorable vacation in Estes Park, the recipes you are looking for are probably in here. There are even recipe guidelines and help for adjustments of equipment, ingredients, preparation and altitude (welcome to our world) to ensure successful preparation of the recipes.
To kick off the book's release, Michele and her publisher have made an extra copy available to me to give to one of my US readers, and I won't make you jump through hoops enter either. If you'd like to enter just leave a comment. If you'd like extra entries you can like me on Facebook and sign up to receive my posts by e-mail by entering your address in the field at the upper right of this page under the Foodgawker badge. That's it. Choose one, two or all of these and you're in, just leave a separate comment for each method of entry. If you aren't lucky enough to win this copy when I give it away next Friday, Tasting Colorado is available at bookstores and gift shops all around Colorado. You can also pick up a copy online at www.farcountrypress.com or at Amazon.com.
When I started the process of deciding which recipe to prepare, I kind of felt like the decision was predestined in a way. You might recall a few months ago I posted about an evening I spent at a Cooking Matters class. At the end of that post I invited other bloggers to join me in the Cooking Matters Colorado Social Media Recipe Challenge to make a meal for around $1.40 per person. I am pleased to say that I won that contest and the grand prize which was 40 pounds of local bison meat.
Having received my book and bison at almost the same exact time, I knew that I was going to have to prepare The Buckhorn Exchange's delicious looking recipe for Buffalo Redeye Stew. The combination of bison, bourbon, black coffee and potatoes just says old west to me. Serve this with an iron skillet full of moist cornbread and you have my husband's idea of the perfect birthday supper. Yep, it is that good.
Buffalo Redeye Stew from The Buckhorn Exchange, Denver
You're going to read this recipe and say, "Whoa! TWO cups of bourbon?!", but I encourage you to go with at least 1 cup. Michele says to reduce the intensity of the bourbon flavor, replace half or all of the bourbon with beef stock or red wine, and you can do this if you must, but no guts no glory.
I only had 1 cup of Jack Daniels in my cupboard and reluctantly dumped it all in with 1 cup of beef stock. I let the alcohol cook off for a few minutes before covering and simmering. The bourbon adds a wonderful flavor and aroma to the sauce that I don't know if you could get with any yellow bellied beef stock or red wine. I think next time I just might go all Buffalo Bill with it and add with the whole 2 cups.
2 pounds buffalo meat (or beef if buffalo isn't available), cut into cubes
Salt and pepper
Flour, for dredging
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 medium onions, diced small
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups straight Kentucky bourbon
1/2 cup strong black coffee
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
6 small potatoes, peeled and quartered
Season the meat with salt and pepper and dredge in flour.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan and brown the meat on all sides.
Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are soft. Stir in the tomato paste and cook 1 minute. Add the bourbon and coffee, stir to combine and add the rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper and potatoes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until the meat is tender, about 1 hour.
*I cubed a heel of round roast for my stew. Between the altitude and the tough cut of meat I was using, it took my stew about 2 hours to cook. Since it took so long and I don't like overcooked potatoes, I sprinkled my potatoes over the top of the stew at the beginning, cooked them until they were fork tender (about 40 minutes) before removing them and transferring them to a bowl. I then continued to cook the meat until it was tender before returning the potatoes back to the pot to heat through before serving.
And now I'm off to the store for some spaghetti squash. I can't wait to make this one.