For this holiday season I’ve paired what I consider to be the best tasting wild game with a savory porcini mushroom rub and sauce. The Wyoming antelope I used in this recipe was my first big game kill, and this is a perfect preperation to share such a special harvest with others.
Porcini mushrooms have a rich and earthy flavor that pairs very well with venison. Also known as boletes, foragers frequently find them from spring until fall. It’s challenging to get these mushrooms fresh in grocery stores, but luckily they're often available dried.
Dried mushrooms have a long shelf life and more concentrated flavor than their fresh counterparts. In this particular recipe, I grind the mushrooms into a powder for the rub and reconstitute them in stock for the base of an amazing pan sauce.
- 1 antelope loin (backstrap), cut into fillets or steaks
- ½ oz. dried porcini mushrooms (substitute with shiitake or chanterelle)
- 2 cups chicken or gamebird stock
- 3 tbsp. butter, divided
- 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1½ tbsp. red wine vinegar
- Cooking oil
- ¼ oz. dried porcini mushrooms
- ½ sprig of fresh rosemary leaves
- 2 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 tbsp. black pepper
Also works with
- Pulse the dried porcinis and rosemary in a small spice grinder until they reach a fine granular consistency.
- Mix the mushroom powder with the salt and pepper in a small bowl until combined. This makes about ½-cup worth of rub, but you won't use all of it. Reserve what you don’t use in a jar or plastic bag. It will keep for several weeks or months in the pantry.
- Preheat an oven to 350°F. Cut the antelope loin into fillets or the steak size you desire. Tying twine around the fillets will help keep its shape and make for a nice presentation. Season each steak generously with the porcini rub.
- Pour the stock and dried mushrooms into a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a soft boil and reduce the heat. Let the stock simmer until it has reduced down to ¾ or 1 cup of liquid. By the time it has reduced, the mushrooms should be reconstituted. If they are not soft, place the lid on the pot, remove from heat, and let them steep until they are soft.
- Strain the mushrooms from the liquid and reserve the stock. Pat the mushrooms as dry as you can and chop finely. Set aside until ready to cook.
- Heat an oven-proof sauté or cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Once that's hot, add a tablespoon of cooking oil and quickly sear the meat on all sides until brown. Transfer the entire pan into the oven to finish cooking. Remove when the steaks are cooked to your desired doneness: 125°F for rare, 130°F for medium-rare, or 135°F for medium. Let the steaks rest while you make the pan sauce.
- Place the sauté pan back on the burner over low heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter; it should foam almost immediately since the pan is already very hot. Add the mushrooms and rosemary sprigs and quickly sauté. Sprinkle in the minced garlic and cook another minute, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat if needed to avoid burning anything and creating bitter flavors.
- Deglaze with red wine vinegar and the reserved stock, scraping up the cracklings at the bottom of the pan. Bring the liquid to a soft boil and let it reduce. Add the last two tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Taste and season with salt, pepper, or a pinch of the porcini rub.
- Serve the pan sauce with the antelope fillets right away.