Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Going Home / Elk Steaks with Morel Mushroom Sauce

I was born at the end of a dirt road, in a little house next to the railroad tracks.
 It sounds like the beginning of a shitty country song.  The next verse will be something about trucks, tight jeans and "goin' down to thuh crick."
But seriously, there was a creek that ran through our backyard.
My sisters and I spent most of our early childhood outside, making mud pies by the water, dodging prickly pear cactus on our walks and playing make believe in the ruins of an old mining ghost town that bordered the creek.
I was born in one of these houses, can you guess which one?
Old tomato cans and beer bottles found on the property.  There used to be old barrels, pots and pans and other scavenging delights, but five children can do a lot of a damage to a ghost town full of antiques.
Ah yes, the ol' turkey pen/outhouse.  Because why shouldn't you mix those two things?
The goat barn where I spent most of my childhood.
There were more of these buildings when we young, each one explored and desecrated and eventually pulled down for being unstable.
Because someone looked at the creek one day and thought, "you know what this needs? More railroad ties."

Almost all of our dead pets were buried here.  If I've learned anything about living like a hill person, you're going to get a lot of dead pets out here.  Coyotes, owls, drunk drivers, they will pick your dogs and cats off like it ain't no thang.
I wish scent technology was advanced enough for me to include a little smell-byte of the air out here.  It's a wild and intoxicating thing, the wind blowing through the sage brush, juniper and rosehips binding with the wet minerality of the cold, mica-speckled creek bed.

I feel like there may be more skulls out here than when I was growing up.
I'm glad I visited my old home.  It's good to revisit where I came from, but it's also to see how far I've come and how far I still have to go.
In honor of Montana, my roots and the people who are still pushing me to succeed from 600 miles away, here's a recipe for elk steaks with sauteed morel mushroom sauce.

Elk Steaks with Morel Mushroom Sauce


For the steaks:
2 Elk Steaks(you can also sub venison, I like elk because it's thicker.) Preferably 2 inches thick, brought up to room temperature.  I like the New York cut myself because it's flavorful, lean and cooks quickly.
Salt and Pepper
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Sprigs of Rosemary
2 Sprigs Thyme
2 cloves of garlic, crushed, left in skin
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 pieces butter parchment paper, large enough to wrap around the steaks, or just use butter wrappers.

For the morel sauce:
8 oz. of Morels, cut in half, make sure you dust them of debris and dirt but do not put in water.
1 cup full bodied red wine
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 cloves Garlic minced
1/2 shallot minced
1 tsp. dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp butter
Sprig Thyme

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

1. Salt and pepper steaks.

2. Heat saute pan on medium high and add vegetable oil.  When oil starts to shimmer, lay elk steaks facing away from you to avoid splatter.  Do not move them until they start to carmelize.

3. Flip your steaks, throw in your rosemary, thyme, crushed garlic and butter.  Baste the steaks with the butter for about a minute.  Place the steaks inside the buttered parchment paper with one each of the garlic, thyme and rosemary and place on a pie tin or small sheet pan.  Finish in the oven depending on the thickness of the steak.  I like rare game meat myself, so 6-7 minutes will do it for a thicker cut.

4. Allow your steaks to rest while you make your sauce.  You can allow them to rest up to 15 minutes, it will maximize the juiciness of your steak.

5. Pour off the fat in the saute pan you used to sear your steaks.  Add your vegetable oil and heat until shimmering.  Throw in morels, season with salt and pepper and saute until they've exuded most of their liquid and start to brown.

6. Add 1 Tbsp butter, the garlic, shallots, thyme and cook until fragrant(30 seconds or so). Deglaze with your chicken broth and red wine.  Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the flavor bits you can.

7. Reduce the liquid to 1 cup, add juices from resting steaks, dijon mustard and reduce until thickened.

8. Whisk in remaining 2 Tbsp. butter, remove thyme stems and season to taste with salt and pepper.  

9.  Spoon sauce over steaks and eat immediately.  You can serve this with some smashed new potatoes and sauteed asparagus for a full meal :)

No comments:

Post a Comment