Lean ground bison is probably the last thing most people would associate with a ragu. But when cooked gently, for several hours, with a fragrant, heady base of herb-roasted vegetables and mixed mushrooms, and a rich mushroom-infused broth, it more than holds its own. This recipe is something of a project, but don't be intimidated by either the length of the ingredients list or the number of steps involved--the recipe can be broken into discrete parts, which I've attempted to do here. So while there is still an order of operations to assemble the completed dish, the individual components can, for the most part, be prepared independent of each other, over the course of several days, even.
Credit where credit is due: I cribbed the mushroom-infused oil component from wssmom's ingenious "Mushroom Saute with Greens, Pancetta, and Wild Mushroom-Infused Olive Oil," because when I saw that recipe, I immediately realized it contained this recipe's missing step. That being said, you can skip that part if you want--it's a lot of work to obtain the 1/4 cup this recipe calls for (although you will have plenty left over for future use). If that's the case, just rinse, dry, chop, and set the porcini aside til ready to use, and substitute regular olive oil where the recipe calls for the mushroom-infused. The recipe also works fine if you skip roasting the mushrooms and veggies, and just saute them with the herbs and spices instead, although in that case I think you'd be sacrificing some depth of flavor. (I'd also sub regular--i.e, not roasted--canned tomatoes if you're going the non-roasting route.) —Chris Hagan