Forage: How to tap a birch tree and transform its sap into a delicious au jus
Let chef Shawn Adler teach you everything you need to know about this springtime delicacy
Anishinaabe chef Shawn Adler has been harvesting wild edibles since his mother first showed him how as a child. In each episode of Forage, he teaches us how to source in-season ingredients from our own backyards and sustainably forage them, before turning them into a delicious dish we can make and devour in our own kitchens.
Maple syrup may hold a special place in the hearts (and stomachs) of Canadians, but it’s not the only treasure that can be tapped from our trees come springtime. While they’re more tender than maple trees and require extra time to rejuvenate after being tapped, birch trees provide their own luscious sap — one that’s slightly bitter, yet bold and caramel-y, lending itself to more savoury foods once boiled down. In this episode of Forage, chef Shawn Adler demonstrates how to properly tap a birch tree, sustainably harvest its sap and boil it all down to a rich, flavourful syrup. Check out the video below to see the whole process unfold, then scroll down for a recipe that transforms the syrup into a rich ribeye topper.
Bison Ribeye with Birch Syrup Jus
By Shawn Adler
- 2 cups beef or bison stock
- 1 tbsp birch syrup
- 1 tbsp cold butter, chopped
- 2 bison ribeyes (Beef ribeye can substitute if bison is not available)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
To a saucepan, add the beef or bison stock and over high heat reduce it by half. Add the birch syrup and continue to reduce until you’ve reached a thick, syrupy consistency, about 5-10 minutes. Add butter and stir until melted. Set aside.
Generously salt and pepper the steaks on either side. Fry in a medium-high skillet for 3 minutes on each side (depending on the thickness of the steaks). Let rest 5 minutes before cutting.
Slice the steak and finish with the Birch Syrup Jus.