For the past month, I've been researching local farms, ranches and coops to find ingredients to help me cook locally from now through March 2012. Last night we enjoyed our first "Dark Days of Winter" dinner. The Dark Days of Winter Challenge (DDC) is in its 5th year and recently expanded the "local" area to 150 mile radius from your home base - and I'm lucky for that nice radius! It allows me to use purveyors in Maryland, Virgina, Delaware, Pennsylvania & New Jersey. So far the toughest thing to find is local chicken. On to the meal...
After finding local meat, dairy, and vegetable suppliers at my local organic grocer, Roots, I pulled together an easy meal to please all pallets(and by all pallets I mean 3 years to 33 years!) We made Bison Patty Melts w/ Roasted Root Vegetables & here's how we did it:
- preheat oven to 425
- 3-4 mixed color carrots, scrubbed & large chop
- 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 1 red onion, sliced into thin half moons
- 1 large turnip scrubbed, peeled, and diced into 1 inch pieces
- 2 potatoes, scrubbed & diced into 1 inch pieces
- dried or fresh rosemary
- dried oregano
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
Once the vegetables are chopped, diced, and smashed,toss them onto a sheet pan and toss with oil, rosemary, oregano, salt and pepper. Roast in a 425 oven for 45-50 minutes, checking and tossing at the 30 minute mark. When done they should be caramelized, not charred. Coat with a hefty drizzle of olive oil and salt again. I added a side of homemade marinara, from the tomatoes I canned, and some regular or chipotle chèvre. The same sides are used on the patty melt.
Bison Patty Melts:
- 1 pound of ground bison, form 3-4 patties depending on your crowd size
- olive oil
- 1 tbsp homemade ground pimentón (paprika)
- salt & pepper
- goat cheese, regular & chipotle
- homemade marinara from my canned tomatoes
- sourdough and rye bread from The Breadery
- baby arugula from the garden
- homemade chili powder for heat
Oil your pan & toast cheese covered bread slices in hot pan (cast iron or stainless) until cheese is a little melty. Remove the bread from the pan and coat the pan in fresh oil. Cook the bison patties in the pan 5-7 minutes per side. Combine the patties, cheesy bread, marinara sauce, and arugula together. If you want some heat, add the chili powder to your bison and marinara sauce as you assemble the melt.
To wash it all down, my husband and I enjoyed a few glasses of Black Ankle's 2009 Rolling Hills Blend, and our son guzzled down a few glasses of Trickling Springs Creamery 2% Milk.
The meal was filling - enough for leftovers for Monday lunch - local, sustainable, and super easy. Over the next few months I'll need inspiration, please send me your ideas!