Thursday, December 20, 2012

Rice Cooker Buffalo Stew

I was pretty surprised to discover that the folks at Big Basket sell buffalo meat. I'd sort of anticipated not eating red meat for the duration of our stay, so I was pleased to find it, even though I'd never cooked buffalo before.

I had two choices for buffalo purchase: cubed or minced buffalo. I went with cubed, figuring that a stew was pretty likely to turn out OK in the rice cooker. And you know what? It did!

I hate to call this a recipe, because I'm relatively certain that anyone with more than a rice cooker and a handful of ingredients could improve upon this, but eh. There've got to be people out there who are only cooking with a rice cooker and a few things, right? And one of them might even find this post someday! So with that in mind, I give you my highly sought after, top secret recipe.

Rice Cooker Buffalo Stew

1 med onion, diced
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced (or something approximating minced. I only have one knife here, so my "minced" is really more like "roughly chopped, trying to make sure there aren't too many huge hunks")
3 carrots, chopped
2 biggish zucchinis, chopped
1 lb buffalo stew meat
2 T tomato paste

Put the onion and garlic in your rice cooker along with a little oil. Set the rice cooker to "cook". When they start to brown (or when you get tired of waiting for them to brown, as I did), add the meat. Stir it a few times, and then add the tomato paste, salt and pepper. Stir some more, to evenly distribute the tomato paste, and then add the carrots and half of the zucchini. Pour in enough water to nearly cover it all, and put the lid on.

Now I'd read that you can slow cook a stew in your rice cooker by setting it on "warm". And while this may be true for fancy rice cookers, my little one is as lo-fi as you can get while still using electricity. I brought the mixture to a boil, flipped it to "warm" and felt sassy and sophisticated...right up until I discovered, half an hour later, that my stew was just sitting there. Warm, yes, but certainly not cooking. So after that I alternated between boiling the fuck out of it ("cook") and letting it cool down so that the meat might not be as tough as shoe leather ("warm"). I don't exactly recommend this method if you have other options, but if you, like me, are cooking on a wing and a prayer then I can tell you that it more or less works.

After two hours of alternating between "cook" and "warm" (or two hours of simmering if you're the high society rice cooker type), add the rest of the zucchini. Give it another 30 minutes or so and call it done. Or let it cook longer, either way. I had to call it done then so I could use my rice cooker to actually cook rice to accompany the stew! Some of the more sinewy looking bits of meat were slightly tough, but none required protracted chewing, so I'm calling it a win. And what's more, my family agreed with me! Zion even had seconds.

1 comment:

CoffeeInspired said...

Seconds= high praise. Excellent