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Bison Cottage Pie with Riverbench Estate Pinot Noir

Bison is a lean meat that resembles beef but has a meatier, richer flavor. It’s low in saturated fat because it’s grass fed, and now it’s becoming easier and easier to find. Buy ground bison at Albertson’s, New Frontiers, and Whole Foods, to name a few. Cottage pie is just like shepherd’s pie, but with the addition of cheese to make the potato topping creamy and gooey. The hint of gaminess in the pie pairs so well with Pinot Noir that you’ll be using it in the place of ground beef more and more!

• 1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes
• 1 ½ cup beef stock
• 2 tbsp. butter
• 1 tbsp. olive oil
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 1 bunch of carrots, chopped
• 1 cup of chopped celery
• 1 lb. ground bison
• 2 tbsp. tomato paste
• 1 cup dry white wine
• 1 cup tomato sauce
• 2 tbsp. flour
• ¼ cup chopped parsley
• 2 tbsp. chopped thyme
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 tsp. paprika
• 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the potatoes into 1 inch cubs, put into a pot. (You can skin the potatoes if you like- I prefer the skins on for a chunkier mashed potato). Cover with water and put over the heat. The potatoes will boil about 10 minutes, or until soft. Drain and return to the pot. Mash well. Add ½ cup of the beef stock and the butter, along with ½ cup of cheese. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Remove from the pan. Add the bison and break it up into pieces with a wooden spoon, browning the meat. Add the tomato paste, wine, sauce, and remaining cup of beef stock. Cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and cook another 2 minutes until thicker. Add the herbs and the cooked vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour the mixture into a 9 inch by 9 inch greased baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, then the cheese. Finally, dust the paprika on top.

Bake for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly, then serve.
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