A few years ago I became friends with legendary chef Jeremiah Tower via social media, and every now and then I would seek his advice on food and cooking. There was one time I came to him to seek his advice on the best way to cook dried chanterelle mushrooms. He told me chanterelles need nothing more than some minced garlic, fresh thyme leaves if you have them, and butter or mild olive oil. He also mentioned that “What NOT to use is just about everything else”. Hmmm keep it simple, huh? I get it, let the great flavor of those mushrooms shine in the dish.
I decided to do a sort of French/Italian fusion with this dish. I had some venison steaks, but the genius that butchered the animal decided it was a smart idea to deeply score the steaks. Since venison is a very lean meat, this was a horrible idea since you stand the chance to dry out the meat very fast while cooking. This was the one time my sous vide device would come in handy (I own a Anova immersion circulator). I could control the cooking temperature (125F for 3 hours), and give it a quick sear at the end ensuring that the venison is moist and tender. With this recipe you can use beef, elk, kangaroo, ostrich, or any red meat you desire. I am using a dry white wine instead of red wine to lighten the dish up a bit. I posted this recipe using the traditional cooking method for the meat AND with a sous vide device.
1 lb of venison or beef tenderloin, seared and then cut into 1-inch cubes or strips (one of the last steps)
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, plus 1/2 tsp divided
Salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
4 sprigs fresh thyme, plus 1 more for garnish
2 oz dried chanterelles or 1 cup fresh, chopped
½ cup dry white wine
½ Tbs Dijon mustard
¼ cup minced shallots
2 Tbs unsalted butter (I used a truffle butter, optional)
1 lb fettuccine or linguine
Traditional method (no sous vide): Place venison in a bowl, add 2 tablespoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and leaves from 4 sprigs thyme. Mix well and set aside. Place chanterelles in a bowl, add 2/3 cup warm water and set aside. Wait 30 minutes. In a bowl, mix wine and mustard together. Place a fine strainer over bowl and place chanterelles in it. Press out as much liquid as possible. Mix mushroom liquid with wine mixture. Dry chanterelles on paper towel and chop. If you have fresh mushrooms
Heat remaining oil in a 12-inch skillet. Add shallots, garlic, and chopped mushrooms and sauté over medium heat until tender and lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for pasta. Heat 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in skillet on medium-high, add venison and quickly sear on all sides. Remove from the pan and slice into medium-size cubes. Return shallots and chanterelles to pan and add reserved liquid. Simmer until reduced by a quarter. Stir in remaining butter. Remove from heat. Boil pasta about 8-12 minutes til al-dente, drain and add to skillet. Simmer contents of skillet briefly, tossing ingredients together, until heated through. Add venison, toss again and serve garnished with thyme or rosemary sprigs.
If you are using a sous vide device: Season the steaks with salt and pepper and place them in a vacuum sealed bag with a couple sprigs of thyme, 1/2 tbsp of each; dehydrated onion flakes and garlic flakes, and 1 Tbs of butter (optional). Seal the bag and set your device to 125 F and drop the bag in for 3-4 hours. Open the bag remove the steaks, strain and reserve the liquid to add to the pan along with the wine mixture described above. Sear the steaks very quickly before slicing into cubes and adding them to the final step of the recipe.
My sous vide cookbook can be found at these fine retailers: