D is for Dinner: A Northern feast
As a preview, Alan visited with Whitehorse chef Michele Genest, author of the Boreal Gourmet cooking column. When Alan met her in a kitchen, she was already experimenting --using morel mushrooms she brought down from the Yukon and combining it with bison from Ferme Takwana near Montebello, venison from Saslove's in the market, cream from Harmony Dairy, and butter from Sterling Creamery...All to create bison and venison with a creamy morel sauce.
As the garlic was starting to cook, Alan asked her what people tend to do wrong when cooking meat like bison.
Morels, Calvados and Cream Sauce by Michele Genest
In the Yukon boreal forest morel mushrooms appear in number the year after a forest fire, and morel pickers, both professional and amateur, flock to the bush to harvest the bounty. In this simple but delicious sauce the Calvados (apple brandy) picks up on the mushrooms' earthy flavour, and the cream is divine. Try it on linguini -- go easy on the Parmesan -- or on moose, venison or bison strip loin or sirloin steak. Tip for cooking wild or domestic game meat: it really is best rare. Bring steaks to room temperature, season simply with sea salt and freshly-ground pepper, grill or saute over high heat one and half minutes per side and let the meat rest for five minutes before slicing. Serve in strips with sauce drizzled over top, and pass a small jug with the extra sauce.
- 8 small to medium dried morels
- 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) boiling water
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) Calvados
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) soya sauce
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups (250 - 375 mL) 35% cream
Pour boiling water over the morels and soak until re-hydrated, about half an hour. Gently squeeze out the excess liquid. (Freeze the liquid for later use in soups or stews.) Slice the morels lengthwise, then crosswise into small pieces.
Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, but don't let it brown. Add morels soon after. Saute for about 10 minutes.
Turn up the heat to medium, add the Calvados, stir, and when the bubbling subsides, add the cream. Be careful not to let it boil over. Cook until the cream thickens, about 10 minutes.