Seared Water Buffalo Tenderloin with Polenta Squares
Jeff Dill, winemaker and owner, produces this dark, distinctive red from a hearty hybrid that ripens early in our cold climate region. It carries a dense, dark cherry foundation with soft tannins making it an ideal pairing for the lean texture and subtle flavor of water buffalo tenderloin. Just as you won’t see a delicious DeChaunac like this at every Finger Lakes winery, you’ll see even less water buffalo on restaurant menus.
Pair with JR Dill 2010 DeChaunac
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 onion diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup leaf parsley roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup Farmer Ground cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 clove garlic sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon fresh marjoram roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup JR Dill 2010 DeChaunac
- 3 small tomatoes diced
- 1 1/2 pounds water buffalo tenderloin
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
- Kosher salt to taste
- pepper ground, to taste
- Muranda blue cheese for garnish
In a 4-quart sauce- pan on medium heat, add the butter, onion and garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Increase the heat to high and add the water, parsley and salt.
When the water begins to boil, sprinkle the cornmeal evenly over the water and whisk until it becomes a smooth, thick mixture. Continue cooking for 2 minutes, whisking constantly.
Pour the mixture into an 8-inch by 8-inch baking pan lined with plastic wrap and spread evenly with a spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour or overnight.
Once cool, cut the polenta into six equal pieces and place on a greased baking pan.
Bake in 400-degree oven for 8–10 minutes until the edges begin to brown. Remove from the oven and keep warm for plating.
In a small saucepan on medium heat, add the oil and cook the onion, garlic and marjoram, stirring occasionally and adding the wine by the tablespoon so the onions don’t brown.
Once the onions have softened, add the tomatoes and continue cooking until the sauce it thick and condensed with very little moisture. Set aside for plating.
In a small cast iron skillet on medium high heat, sear all sides for 1–2 minutes until well browned.
Continue cooking, turning occasionally, until the internal temperature reaches 120–125 degrees (medium rare). Remove from heat and set aside, covered, for five minutes.
Place the polenta squares on plates, slice and divide the water buffalo tenderloin and stack the slices on the polenta. Top each with a spoonful of the sauce and garnish with small morsels of Muranda blue cheese.
See more from the 2014 Wine issue, including a recipe for oven-roasted haddock that goes well with a dry rosé.