Thursday, 24 November 2011

Buffalo and Beetroot Stew

I'm quite a fan of this time of year, gone are the light dishes and salads of summer and in come thick hearty stews and warming soups. The inspiration for this stew came from two separate markets, the spectacular Borough market of London town and the little deli market that crops up monthly in the stunning surroundings of Kirkstall Abbey of Leeds.

While having a wander around Kirkstall Deli, one of the stalls I visited was Snowden Hill Water Buffalo, which as the name suggests sells buffalo in various cuts and forms. Having never cooked with buffalo before I picked up a packet of shin meat for a bargain price of £2.50, planning to make some variety of stew with it. A week or so later while wandering around Borough Market, one of the veg stalls were selling bunches of beetroot for £1.50, so as with the buffalo I picked some up to have a go cooking with it.

With stews I generally follow a simple formula:

Meat + Veg + Alcohol + Long cooking time = a damn good stew.

This time, for the alcohol, I decided to continue with the Red theme and opted for a bottle of Merlot.

Buffalo and Beetroot Stew
500g Shin buffalo, diced and coated with 1 tbsp of flour (substitute with beef if you you cant get hold of any buffalo)
1 tbsp oil
1 Large onion, diced
2 Carrot, roughly chopped
2 Parsnips, roughly chopped
2 bulbs of beetroot, peeled and diced
1 400g tin of tomatoes
500ml Merlot or alternative red wine
Plenty of Thyme/Rosemary
Salt and Ground Black Pepper

Fry the onions for a few minutes in the oil until golden brown.

Several recipe books that I've read state that browning the meat is not necessary, but if you prefer then add it now and cook for a few minutes until browned.

Add the remainder of the dry veg and cook for 5 minutes until softened slightly.

If you didn't brown the meat add it now.
Pour in the wine and tinned tomatoes.
Season well and add lots of your choice of herbage.
Bring to the boil
Now you have a choice either stick a lid on and simmer on a gentle heat for 2-3 hours or transfer to a oven proof dish, cover with foil and place into a preheated oven at 160C for the same length of time.
Check occasionally and add a bit of water if its looking to dry.

Sit back with the remainder of the wine.

Remove from the oven and serve with fluffy mash or a jacket spud.

Absolutely fantastic, everything a autumn/winter stew should be and with a stunning deep red colour.

If you have leftovers, leave them in the fridge for 3 days, the flavour intensifies and it gets even better, after that then freeze it.

Considering the buffalo was the shin cut and had to be stewed, It hard to give an opinion on the flavour specifically. The texture is slightly different however, slightly softer and leaner. I will have to get a steak cut next time and try it properly.



  1. Interesting combination. Beetroot seems to be making a bit of a comeback. Haven't tried Buffalo before, will look out for it.

  2. Oh god YES!!! I agree. Food is better thus time of year. I love your combo in this dish. Fab stuff. Just need to track down my local buffalo herd...