The SAVEUR team had a big event with Telluride Ski Resort on Thursday night in the SAVEUR kitchen, featuring the cooking talents of the Telluride Executive Chef Stephen Roth.
Photo courtesy of Courtney Henley-Anderson
One of the featured dishes was a rack of venison with spiced huckleberry Port sauce. It was delicious, but a little tough to eat at a cocktail party without knife and fork…so there was plenty leftover, and I went home with about 25 pieces of venison. However, unlike last time when I brought home the lamb, the meat was already cooked; I needed to figure out how to incorporate it into other dishes that I could eat or freeze to make sure the meat didn’t go to waste.
Photo courtesy of Courtney Henley-Anderson
For the first attempt, I decided I wanted to riff off of the traditional Shepherd’s Pie — a hearty dish of lamb, vegetables, and mashed potatoes — by making a sort of “Hunter’s Pie” with venison as the base meat. I began by cutting the meat off of the bones, throwing the latter into a pot of salted water with other vegetable remnants to make stock. Meanwhile, I cut the venison into cubes and quickly browned them; after removing the meat from the heat, I added finely chopped carrots and leeks to the pan juices to soften them.
Primary ingredients coming together on the stovetop.
I added the meat back to the pan, along with the stock, some Worcestershire sauce, flour, and some herbs, then let everything simmer in the pan for about an hour and a half. In another pan, I covered some russet potatoes with salted water and brought it to a boil. Twenty minutes later, once strained, I added a splash of cream, a tablespoon of butter, and some salt & pepper, then set the mashed potatoes aside. When everything was ready, I assembled the crust-less “pie,” topping the meat with the mashed potatoes.
“Hunter’s Pie” fresh from the oven.
Once the potatoes turned a light golden brown number and the venison roux began to bubble, I removed the pie from the oven and let it cool briefly. Digging into the meal, we discovered that the nutmeg in the spice blend complemented the gaminess of the meat — and I even think I preferred this dish with venison rather than lamb. I served it with a side of spinach and a cheese biscuit to sop up the jus, and we sipped on the Clos de la Roilette 2009 Beaujolais from Fleurie, the same wine that had been paired with chef Roth’s rack of venison. Its complexity, with a bit of earthiness as well as bright fruit, was a refreshing contrast to the weight of the meal.
First round of leftovers = success!
- 8 venison chops, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 2 leeks, white parts only, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 1 1⁄2 cups venison stock
- 1 tbsp. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped rosemary leaves
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped thyme leaves
- 1⁄8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
- Splash of Organic Valley half-and-half
1. Melt 2 tbsp. of the butter in a large pot over high heat. Add one-third of the venison and brown on all sides, then transfer to a plate, leaving fat in pot. Repeat process 2 more times, using 2 tbsp. of the butter and one-third of the venison for each batch. Add leeks and carrots to pot, reduce heat to medium, and cook until softened, scraping up any browned bits. Return venison and its juices to pot along with flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Whisk in stock, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Increase heat to medium-high; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until venison is tender, about 40 minutes. Uncover pot and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, 35–40 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, put potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, 20–25 minutes. Drain and transfer potatoes to a bowl. Add 1 tbsp. of the butter, half-and-half, and salt and pepper to taste; mash until smooth.
3. Preheat oven to 375°. Transfer venison to a pie dish. Top evenly with mashed potatoes, and top with small cubes of butter, scattered over potatoes. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 20 minutes.