Last night, Larry had an old friend from high school visit us and I wanted to cook up something that was a true Colorado meal. Larry’s friend Mark lives in Austin, TX so it was a bit challenging because Texas, like Colorado, is known for its beef and good Mexican and Southwestern foods. So I went with some wild game. I know, Texas has wild game too, but as far as I know, they don’t have elk. I decided on making some elk steaks with a port reduction sauce with mushrooms and peppers, roasted rosemary and garlic potatoes and grilled asparagus. I decided on making a true Colorado meal that focused on our natural wild side.
I marinated the elk steaks in red wine, big game spices and pepper all day. Then we grilled them up when we were ready to eat. Elk is very lean, so it doesn’t need long to cook. it is best when served medium rare. If you over cook it, it will become very tough very quickly.
As the steaks were grilling up, I made a port reduction sauce and added some mushrooms and red peppers as well.
Port Reduction Sauce
1 cup port
1 cup beef broth
1 shallot, minced fine
1/4 cup butter
salt & pepper to taste
Cook the shallots in the wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Be careful when adding the port to the pan though. There will be a big surge of flames that will last for about a minute when you add the port.
Once most of the liquid has evaporated, add the beef broth, and once again reduce it to about 1/3 of the liquid.
Then add the butter and incorporate it into the sauce.
You can easily leave it just like this if you want. Some chefs will strain it, but I like rich sauces with lots of stuff, so I left the minced shallots in the sauce and added some sliced mushrooms and peppers as well.
While my sauce was cooking I was also using my inside grill to grill up the asparagus. Before putting it on the grill, I tossed it in olive oil, salt & pepper and a dash of lemon balsamic vinegar. I grilled it for about 5-7 minutes, rotating it a couple of times to make sure it all cooked evenly.
Once everything was ready, I topped the elk steaks with the sauce and served it all along side a big bold red wine. It all came together beautifully. Mark was wowed and dinner was yet another big success.
A general rule of thumb for cooking wild game is to add big bold flavors that will compliment the meat. If you have soft delicate flavors, they will get lost with the boldness and gaminess of the meats. I was also taught that if you are serving wild game, think of things that would grow in the wild to serve with it. Don’t be afraid to walk on the wild side. Instead, embrace it.
Stay safe and stay well everyone. And every now and then, let your wild side come out. Let yourself roar every now and then. ‘Til next time.