Sautéed Veal Tips with Cremini, Cipolline and Port Wine Demi-Glace

Pastured veal sautéed with fresh crimini mushrooms and cipollini onions, simmered in a reduction of port wine, bone broth, shallots and demi-glace, flavored with fresh English thyme and cracked black pepper..

Sauté quartered brown mushrooms and small cipolline onions (about 1/4 pound of each) in a tablespoon of clarified butter in a heavy skillet until amazing-looking, about 5 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer vegetables to a side dish.

Return skillet to temp, add a little more butter and quickly sear a pound 1-1/4-inch cubes until well browned on the edges, but still rare on the inside. Transfer to the side to keep company with the vegetables, leaving the skillet on the burner.

De-glaze the skillet with about 1/3 cup of a good quality port wine, scraping up all the fond (the brown bits on the bottom of the pan, i.e. the best part!) with a wooden utensil.

Add a cup and a half of good roasted bone stock,  1/2 tablespoon of minced shallots and a loose tablespoon of fresh thyme. Bring to a boil then lower to a fast simmer and cook until reduced in volume by half (patience shall reward).

Return the veal, mushroom and onions to the pan and add a tablespoon and a half of demi-glace.  Simmer slowly, stirring constantly until the sauce is thick and the veal is just heated through (still a little pink on the inside), maybe 5 minutes.

Off the heat, whisk a tablespoon of cold, cultured butter into the sauce, taste for salt and pepper and serve hot with a favorite side (French beans or asparagus, perhaps).

Pan-seared Venison Loin with Roasted Root Vegetables and Cranberry Port Reduction

The term ‘foodshed’ is similar to the concept of a watershed: while watersheds outline the flow of water supplying a particular area, foodsheds outline the flow of food feeding a particular area. Your foodshed encompasses the farm, your table and everything in between.  –

Our foodshed, the Edwards Plateau of central Texas, offers an amazing abundance of food from deer, rabbit and feral hog to freshwater crayfish, bass and catfish and every manner of fruit and vegetable.

This local dish features whitetail deer, smoked bacon, sage, cranberries, sweet potatoes, parsnips and green garlic..

Pan-seared Venison Loin with Roasted Root Vegetables and Cranberry Port Reduction

For the Reduction

1/2 cup fresh  cranberries, rinsed and picked over
1/3 cup filtered water
1 teaspoon clarified butter
1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed Mayer lemon juice
1 teaspoon more-or-less guajillo honey
1 teaspoon shallot, minced
1 tablespoon port wine
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste

Heat butter in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat.  Add shallots and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes.  Add cranberries and water and simmer until cranberries pop and begin to soften.  Add port wine and simmer until reduced in volume by about half. Stir in lemon, season to taste with salt and pepper and add just enough honey to smooth out the tartness (the sauce should be balanced rather than sweet).  Keep warm.

For the Vegetables

A seasonal variety of root vegetables, perhaps including sweet potatoes, green garlic, carrots and parsnips, cut in smallish pieces
1 teaspoon pastured butter, melted
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Toss vegetables in melted butter and season with salt and pepper.  Roast in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, then remove and set aside.  Vegetables will be underdone at this point.

For the Venison (serves 2)

12 oz fresh, unsliced venison loin (backstrap)
2 pieces applewood-smoked bacon, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons sage, crumbled
1 tablespoon pastured butter
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Fry bacon in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat until crisp and all the fat has rendered.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon and sage to a side dish, leaving the hot bacon fat behind.  Rinse the venison, pat dry and season with salt and pepper.  Increase heat to medium and add butter to bacon fat fat.  Once shimmering, add the venison and sear until well browned, about 3 minutes per side.  Add par-roasted vegetables to the pan and place in a 400 degree oven until the venison is about 125-130 degrees at the thickest part (use a thermometer).  Remove from oven and allow to stand at least 5 minutes.

To serve, spoon cranberry reduction onto the center of a serving plate.  Slice venison into 3/4 inch-thick medallions and arrange around the plate along with roasted vegetables.  Garnish with crumbled bacon and sage and dress with a spoonful of pan juices.  Offer coarse salt on the side.

Pan-Roasted Quail with Wild Rice Stuffing and Blackberry Jus Lie

Semi-boneless quail seasoned with sea salt and smoked pepper and stuffed with wild rice, pecans, scallions and porcini mushrooms.  Served with blackberry jus lié.

I wish the plate presentation were better, but I was scrambling like mad before losing the light.  Oh, well..


Pan-Roasted Quail with Wild Rice Stuffing and Blackberry Jus Lie

Serves two

For the Rice

1 cup wild rice
chicken stock instead of water, in the quantity specified on the rice package
2 whole porcini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 chopped pecans
1 clove garlic, minced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
sea salt and black pepper

Cook the rice and set aside to cool.  Sauté mushrooms, pecans, garlic, scallions and sage until the pecans are golden brown then stir into the cooled rice.  Add 1/4 cup of chicken stock and season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.

For the Quail

4 semi-boneless quail
2 tablespoons pastured butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon poivron rouge
sea salt and smoked blacked pepper

Rinse and pat dry the quail.  Tuck the wing tips.  Use a teaspoon or your fingers to stuff in as much rice as the bird will comfortably hold.

Transfer the birds to a skillet.  Mix together the melted butter and paprika and use that to paint the birds with.  Place in a 375 degree oven until golden brown and the juices run clear, about 18 minutes.  Transfer to a cutting board and cover loosely with foil.

For the Jus Lié

2 pieces uncured, applewood-smoked bacon, diced
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup blackberries
2 oz port
2 tablespoons glace de poulet
2 tablespoons filtered water

Sauté bacon and shallots in a tablespoon of the drippings from the pan that the quail was roasted in.  Once the bacon is crisp, de-glaze the pan with port and add the blackberries.  Stir and cook until the berries begin to break apart, then add demi-glace and water.  Cook until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, then strain or not, as you see fit.

To Serve

Split quail in half lengthwise and spoon sauce over the top.  Serve immediately.

Roast Caribou w/Port Wine Reduction, Cranberries and Gingerbread Muffins

Informed by a recipe from Stein Eriksen Lodge

Butter, bay, coriander, cardamom, juniper berries, non-refined sugar, pepper, paprika, salt and a caribou loin or roast.

Grind spices in a coffee grinder.  Add enough unbleached flour to double the volume and thoroughly dredge the roast.  Brown the roast on all sides in butter in a Dutch oven set over medium heat.  Add port and cook uncovered in 350-degree oven until internal temperature reaches 125 degrees.

Prepare salt & pepper gingerbread muffins and put in oven with roast.

After the roast has been cooking about 20 minutes, slice a potato and season with rosemary, sage, thyme and S&P.  Season green beans with cracked mustard seed and S&P.  Top with raw pine nuts.  Drizzle a little olive oil and melted butter over all, and put pan in oven with roast.

Remove muffins from tin and sprinkle with spiced sugar.

Cook cranberries in the juice and zest of 1 orange and a little sugar until moisture is evaporated.

Remove roast from oven and set on cutting board to rest.

Saute minced shallot, celery, carrot and garlic in butter until soft.  Add sliced mushrooms and cook until moisture is evaporated.  Transfer vegetables to the pot that the caribou was roasted in.  Add additional port wine and stock.  Cook over medium-high heat until reduced in volume by half.

Serve slices of roast with pan gravy and cranberries accompanied by roast potatoes and green beans.

Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Pan Seared Pork Medallions with Port, Wild Mushrooms and Fried Sage (favorite)

Wild mushrooms, stock, sharp feta or goat cheese, fresh sage, pork tenderloin filets, garlic, shallot, S&P and port.  Assorted vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, fennel and beans.

Toss the vegetables with S&P and a little bit of olive oil.  Roast in a 425 degree oven for 30 minutes, turning once.

Saute mushrooms, garlic and shallots in butter until browned and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Season filets with S&P and saute in olive oil until well browned and internal temperature reaches 140 degrees, about 8 minutes per side.  Set aside.

Deglaze the pan with port, scraping up all the brown bits.  Add stock and bring to boil.  Reduce volume by half.

Meanwhile, fry the sage by making a thin batter of 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup water and S&P.  Holding the stem between your thumb and forefinger, dip the leaves into the batter and then into hot olive oil.  Fry for a minute or so then transfer to a plate to drain.

Add the filets and mushrooms back to the pan with the port and heat through, about 5 minutes.

Serve topped with crumbled goat or feta cheese and fried sage.

Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦