A Local Bison Dinner with Slow Food Denver
What do you get when you put together 16 guests, bison from a local Colorado rancher, and 3 chefs? Well, if it’s orchestrated by Andy Nowak, the national school garden leader for Slow Food USA, then you get an incredible Sunday night dinner, enjoyed alfresco in an urban garden setting, alongside hops and chickens.I’ve written before about a group of us attending the Gold Trophy Bison Sale at the National Western Stock Show each year to bid on Colorado bison. It’s a great way to support local ranchers (and many of these animals have been raised by kids in 4H to fund college), and we all end up with a great selection of bison meat to last us until the next year.Last year Slow Food Denver purchased an extra carcass with the intent to use it for fundraisers to support their work. I was asked to help cook for this first event, and I didn’t hesitate.We started with a selection of pizzas (corn, shishito peppers, and squash blossoms stuffed with cheese; oxtail and braised bok choy with a hoisin sauce base; and caramelized onions and arugula with gorgonzola and pesto), all cooked in Andy’s wood burning pizza oven outside on the patio.To demonstrate a commitment to nose to tail dining, guests enjoyed bison tongue served on a zucchini pancake, and topped with some creme fraiche and chives.I was responsible for the first seated course, which began with herbed spaetzle that I had (painstakingly, as I didn’t have the right equipment!) made at home.The spaetzle was heated in a skillet with some extra virgin olive oil, then served with a ragu made from slow braised bison short ribs and mushrooms. This is actually a recipe from my first cookbook, Tasting Colorado, and it’s a good one!The main course was actually too much food to fit on the plate, including a slice of bison NY strip steak alongside a bison filet, served with roasted potatoes, roasted peaches, and roasted peppers.And on the side, guests enjoyed cornbread and heirloom beans.I’m not sure how anyone had room for dessert, but they all seemed to enjoy the Colorado Peach and Rosemary Tart that I made, served with a homemade rosemary ice cream on top.
Please visit the Slow Food Denver website for more information.