Along the Grapevine


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Elk Filet with Highbush Cranberry Wine Sauce

As I continue to learn about the abundance and variety of wild edibles in our area, it is only reasonable that this knowledge should affect my cooking and menu planning. What better time to develop a really special recipe with some of the under-used ingredients than a holiday like Christmas. There’s no rule saying I have to prepare a turkey, or anything else for that matter, so for our celebration I bought elk filets wrapped in elk bacon – an easy option and very elegant. All I needed was a marinade and sauce to make this lean meat worthy of a special occasion.

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While foraging in my freezer, I found some cranberry sauce I made some time ago. I thought the acidity of this sauce would be perfect for a marinade, and the tartness of the berries a perfect accompaniment for wild game of any sort. From there on my task as chef was easy.

For marinading six filets, I combined 1/4 cup oil, 2 tsp. highbush cranberry sauce, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 2 cloves garlic and 1/4 cup red wine.

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Pour the marinade over the meat and allow to stand about three hours, flipping half way through. Meanwhile, for the sauce, melt 1 Tbsp each of butter and olive oil, 1/2 cup red wine, 2 Tbsp highbush cranberry sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the mixture until it has reduced by half, then add 1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water. Heat until cooked through and thickened.

Fry the filets in a hot skillet for about 2 minutes on each side (depending on thickness and how you prefer them) and spoon the sauce over them.

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Served with brussels sprouts roasted with sumac powder, potatoes mashed with olive oil, garlic and parsley, it was a deliciously local and refined mix of flavours.

Linked to Fiesta Friday #100