Buffalo eggplant compatibility!
October 24, 2011 7:21 AM   Subscribe

I have eggplant, bison, and potatoes. Tonight, I want them to join forces to create something delicious. What?

I have no idea how to cook with meat and normally don't buy it, but I was at the farmers' market and had an overwhelming craving for bison. I bought a pound of something that looks like stew meat, and a pound of ground bison.

At home right now I also have: Some baby eggplant that needs to be used as soon as possible, onions, garlic, lemons, cilantro, potatoes, red wine, tomato paste, and standard spices/grains/sauces/oils. I'd prefer not to buy additional ingredients but would be open to it for the Best Recipe Ever.

So, what should I make? (any tricks to cooking with bison / suggestions for other things to do with bison after tonight also definitely welcome!)
posted by aaanastasia to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have a slow cooker/crockpot?
posted by theredpen at 7:23 AM on October 24, 2011

Moussaka, or something like it comes to mind.
posted by jquinby at 7:24 AM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Came in here to say moussaka, but also: shepherd's pie (although since it's bison I guess it would be cottage pie). As mentioned above, a slow cooker would make a lovely stew as well.
posted by spicynuts at 7:30 AM on October 24, 2011

I would roast the baby eggplant seperately and the plunk them in a stew when you serve the whole thing.

I tend to think eggplants get washed out flavorwise if you cook them in stews. Also can get a little weird texture wise.

You have all the ingredients for a classic sort of stew. Finish it off with the cilantro and little lemon. Plunk the roasted eggplants on the plate and poor the stew over it.

I'm assuming these are fairy eggplants - would have to be the world's smallest moussaka - like fit on the head of a pin size. If they are a little bigger you could make a stuffing with the bison mince and make stuffed eggplants.
posted by JPD at 7:34 AM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

There's a Persian dish called khoresh bademjan (bademjan=eggplant, khoresh=stewy sauce deliciousness). My boyfriend (Iranian) makes it with beef. I bet it would be delicious with bison. I can't seem to find a recipe online that sounds like the one he uses (which is the one his mom uses), but this is close. Sort of.

Instead of lamb or beef, use your bison.
Add your turmeric (a lot of it) at the beginning, when you're cooking the onion. You want those onions to be yellow. We also use olive or veggie oil instead of butter, but that's your choice.
We don't use the peas or nutmeg or cinnamon; instead we toss in one or two whole serrano peppers (with a slice down the middle to let out its flavor).
We also throw in some tomato paste towards the end to make it super tomatoey.

Serve with properly-cooked rice. Delicious.
posted by phunniemee at 7:57 AM on October 24, 2011

This would also be great braised in the oven. Put the stew meat, the eggplant, the onions and garlic in a heavy covered pot or covered casserole dish or something, add a bit of liquid — a few glugs of wine, maybe some stock if you have it — and let it sit in the oven at 350 for a few hours. Check in occasionally and make sure the liquid hasn't completely boiled off and nothing is burning (though a bit of browning is desirable). Lots of spice combos would work well here, but if you wanted to use your cilantro and lemon as garnish, then cumin in with the meat would be a good place to start.

You want to keep a bit of liquid at the bottom of the pan so that things stay nice and moist and humid in there, but the trick is not to overdo it. This isn't soup; it's meat and veggies in a little puddle of juice. Eggplant, onion and garlic all soften up as they cook, and you'll end up with something the texture of a thick stew or a moist curry. Serve it with chopped cilantro and maybe some chopped raw onion, and a squeeze of lemon juice if you're into that.

If I were you, I'd do the potatoes separately; chop them, boil them for five or ten minutes, toss them with some sort of tasty fat, and chuck them in a separate pan in the oven for the last 45 minutes or so to roast. You could put them in with the bison and veggies, but I like the texture of roasted potatoes better than potatoes-in-stew, and you've already got the oven on, so why not roast them?
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:48 AM on October 24, 2011

Thanks for all of the suggestions so far!

To answer some questions -- I don't have a slow cooker or crockpot (closest I have to that is a rice cooker). And yeah, they are fairy eggplants (I've been getting piles of them at the farmers' market!).
posted by aaanastasia at 8:59 AM on October 24, 2011

fairy eggplants are soo good just roasted and served with a sauce of yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic and a extra drizzle of paprika oil. Up until a few weeks ago we ate that at least once a week for dinner.

350 is awfully high a stewing temp for something as lean as Buffalo IMO. But other than that nwp's advice is pretty good. I'd also brown the meat first, then cook the veg, then deglaze.
posted by JPD at 9:06 AM on October 24, 2011

Stuffed Egglplant?
posted by dgeiser13 at 10:29 AM on October 24, 2011

Definitely shepherd's pie. It'll be a non-traditional one, but so was the best shepherd's pie I've ever had.

Not sure if that eggplant would work in it or not, though, I've never been a big eggplant eater myself, but red wine goes really well with everything here.
posted by gregoryg at 1:44 PM on October 24, 2011

I would roast the baby eggplant seperately

I was just about to say the same thing. In fact I would cook the potatoes separately too.

Stew the meat with most of the other stuff you have, roast or sautee the eggplants with herbs and oil, and either mash or roast the potatoes as they are.
posted by wutangclan at 4:11 PM on October 24, 2011

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