Friday, May 07, 2010


A few days ago, the Missus and I were in Harry’s Farmers Market picking up a few odds and ends. Now that it’s owned by Whole Paycheck Foods, Harry’s is a bit pricier than it was back when it really was a farmer’s market... but you still can’t beat their selection of produce. And that’s mainly what we had gone there for. That, and a bottle of sherry wine vinegar - a key ingredient of my homemade vinaigrette.

Of course, it’s almost impossible for me to stick to a fixed purchasing agenda at Harry’s. There are way too many interesting goodies to distract and entice me. Indian food? Check. German food? Check. South African goodies? Check. English candy bars? Check.

Somehow, this time, I avoided all of those temptations... only to fall under the spell of the Meat Department, where I espied a beautiful chunk of bison chuck.

Bison is purported to be much better for you than beef. Way less fat. And in my previous encounters with it, I have found it to be quite flavorsome. Just a few days ago I had made myself some bison burgers. Cooked medium rare (more on the rare side), they were nice and beefy, yet not dry despite their low fat content.

I purchased that chunk of Bison-Flesh. After all, how often does one get a chance to eat one’s high-school mascot? We made our exit, managing to get out of the store without bumping into the Food Network crew (Alton Brown, a local resident, often films segments of “Good Eats” at this Harry’s location) and took our Food-Swag home.

As far as what to do with that gorgeous chunk of meat, I had formulated my plans the moment I had laid eyes on it. It would make a fine Hungarian goulash. Sure - bison goulash! Why not?

I’ve found that, with braised or stewed dishes like Hungarian goulash, carbonnade flamande, coq au vin, beef brisket (Eastern European style), etc., their flavor improves markedly if you cook ’em a day or two in advance. You also get a chance to skim off the excess fat that rises to the surface and then congeals in the fridge.

Normally, when I make my goulash with beef chuck, I can scrape off a goodly amount of thick, orangey beef grease. (The orange color comes from the humongous amount of paprika in the dish.) But today when I brought that bison goulash-laden pan from out of cold storage, I was surprised to find that there was no fat on the surface at all!

This is huge. The flavor of beef with a whole lot less saturated fat. That’s gotta be a good thing, right? (Plus there’s that mascot business.)

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