CASHEW CHEESE + MEAT SAUCE (CASHEW CHEESE’S BEST FRIEND)
Cashew cheese is perhaps the coolest, weirdest thing I’ve encountered. I don’t at all understand how it tastes like actual cheese.
Last time I was in Reno, I stopped at a Whole Foods and spotted Cashew Cheese in their “paleo” freezer. You know how I am about foods masquerading as other foods, so I was definitely a little skeptical about it. I was 100% sure this wouldn’t actually be anything like real cheese, but it did look like it’d make a more than adequate dip for some carrots and veggies. So, I took home a tub.
When I opened it up and tasted it, I immediately carried it out of my kitchen and all around the house, looking for somebody else I could make taste this weird cashew cheese.
I don’t like fake-out food, but this… tastes… like… cheese.
I did the only thing a person can do when faced with this type of situation. I whipped up a sizable batch of meat sauce.
EASY BISON BOLOGNESE.
1-2 pounds of ground bison (more meat = meatier sauce, less meat = saucier sauce)
3-5 strips of bacon, diced
1 gigantic can of San Marzano tomatoes (whole)
1 small can of tomato paste
Equal amounts of carrot, onion, and celery, chopped down into a very small dice (or pulsed in a food processor) to your liking (my liking is somewhere around 3 small carrots, 2 ribs of celery, and an entire small onion)
3-5 cloves of garlic, also very small (OR, if you fancy, roast a whole head of garlic in your oven and smoosh out a few roasted cloves for this.)
Beef stock, homemade if you can manage
Spices: I generally go with 1-2 bay leaves, a palmful of dried oregano, a bunch of fresh basil or parsley, and some salt and pepper
This is easy. Over medium-high heat, brown the meats up and season with salt and pepper in the bottom of a big ol pot, preferably a hefty dutch oven. No need to make sure it’s all the way cooked, just get some godo color on it. Remove it from the pan.
In the meat juices (and hopefully there’s a good amount of meat-crud on the bottom of the pan) and a little bit of olive oil, drop the veggies and garlic in, and give them time to cook on medium heat. Season heartily with some salt. Cook the veggies for a while, like 10 minutes or so at the very least. Add the meat back in, and continue brown-age.
Add enough tomato paste to coat everything in there (it could take the whole can, if you have a lot of meat in there) and turn it into a gloopy paste. Cook this all while mixing until the tomato paste turns brick-red.
Add in the can of tomatoes (the whole can, including the juice) and enough beef stock to cover the meat and veggies. Scrape the crud up off the bottom of the pan with the liquids and use your spoon to smash the tomatoes.
Pre-paleo, I used to use just massive quantities of red wine, a much smaller can of tomatoes, and no beef stock at all for this step. If you’re a person who cooks with red wine (which I still am on semi-regular occasion), at the very least, swap out the stock for the wine or try a combo of the two. Just make sure you add the wine first, and use it to scrape up all the crud from the pan.
Add in your spices and bring everything to a boil. Season again with a little salt and pepper and bring it down to a simmer. And simmer forever. The longer the better. On nights when I’m starving and don’t have the patience for this kind of thing, I leave the lid off and simmer until it’s the thickness I desire (usually about 30 minutes or so). On those rare days when I remember to start cooking BEFORE I get to ravenous beast phase, I like to let this simmer for a couple of hours, adding in more beef stock when it starts looking too thick.
This shit’s good. And it makes the perfect accompaniment to CASHEW CHEESE. You can stir a dollop of it into your sauce if you’d like, you can layer sauce + cashew cheese in a little baked veggie stack like I did above.
The leftovers of this sauce only get better. The next day, I just filled a bowl with some sauce and baked a few eggs right in it. Yeah, I ate a bowl of sauce for lunch, whatever.