By Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley
You know the dilemma: when it’s early or late morel season and you didn’t bring home enough mushrooms to give everyone a taste – what do you do? The solution is to make mushroom gravy. Your handful of morels will simmer and bathe in this sauce, lending their earthy, nutty, buttery flavor. There will be enough of this savory gravy for everyone to pour over their meat and mashed potatoes at the dinner table, and you get to stay the hero without family members fighting over who gets what. It’s a rich sauce, so I decided to go the Southern route: Turnip greens with a splash of red wine vinegar balances out the whole dish.
I’d serve this recipe with a spicy, dry red wine, such as zinfandel, Chianti, syrah or malbec.
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 45 minutes
- 4 elk venison steaks
- Coarse salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 5 ounces of fresh morel mushrooms
- 2 shallots, minced
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ to 2 cups of unsalted beef stock, heated
- At least one hour prior to cooking, take elk steaks out of the refrigerator to allow them to come to room temperature. Sprinkle salt all over the steaks and set them on your counter until you’re ready to cook them. Wash morels thoroughly. You can choose to keep them whole, cut them in half or mince them. I halved them.
- To make the gravy, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until flour turns into the color of dark peanut butter, stirring constantly. Next, add the minced shallot and morels, stirring for 2 minutes. Your butter and flour mixture will thicken into a paste upon contact with shallots and morels – this is normal. When shallot begins to soften, lower heat to medium-low and slowly whisk in about 1½ cups of hot beef stock, stirring constantly. Bring sauce to a simmer and allow the gravy to thicken. Whisk in more warm stock as needed, keeping the remaining beef stock on hand to thin out the sauce later if necessary. Simmer on low for 5 to 10 to allow mushrooms to steep, stirring frequently. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm.
Tip: When making gravy, always use heated stock to be on the safe side. Adding cold stock to heated ingredients may change the structure of your roux, which can prevent your gravy from thickening correctly. The easiest way is to pour the stock into a microwave-safe measuring cup, and microwaving more stock as needed.
- Heat olive oil in a skillet. Pat elk steaks dry with paper towels. Sprinkle more salt over the steaks with pepper. When the oil begins to smoke slightly, cook steaks for 2-3 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Once cooked, tent with aluminum foil and allow them to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. Mashed potatoes and turnip greens tasted great with this elk steak and morel mushroom gravy recipe.