In October 2011, my husband was out of town. In the middle of Saturday afternoon, I get the type of phone call that can only be responded to with pure panic.
“Honey – start looking on Craigslist for a freezer. I shot an elk. A big one.”
Since the 222lbs of elk meat arrived on our door step, we’ve had to learn on the fly in the do’s and don’ts of preparing game. Because let me tell you, there isn’t much help out there. Sure, you’ll find a venison recipe or two on the internet, but A. This isn’t venison, and B. it left a lot of be desired in terms of variety.
So now that we’ve got a handle on what we’re doing and learned a few things (mostly through trial and error), we decided it’s time to have a few friends over and make the crowning jewel of our elk haul – the tenderloin. And when Foodbuzz asked for submissions to their monthly 24×24 event, I knew we had a dinner party *just* unique enough for the occasion.
So I smothered our elk tenderloin in garlic and rosemary and wrapped the entire thing in bacon to roast in the oven.
Paired it with my new favorite risotto – Butternut Squash Risotto (Thank you Christine for this recipe!!!)
And my always-favorite roasted broccoli
And finished with my husband’s favorite Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes.
for a ridiculously hearty, heart-warming, soul-satisfying kind of meal. And to go with our meal – lots and lots of red wine.
I have reader’s ask me all the time about the different kinds of wine I like. I do like my wine. And I talk about wine a lot.
In fact, the hubby and I have taken several wine classes through one of our favorite wine restaurants. It’s actually spoiled us quite a bit. I used to be completely satisfied with a bottle of Yellow Tail. Now, not so much.
Once your palate learns to discern good wine, the cheap stuff just taste incredibly acidic.
Which stinks, because now I’m incapable of buying uber cheap wine. Damn.
But, we do have some of our favorite that still won’t break the bank. Today we’ll talk red wines. Eventually I’ll do a post about my favorite whites too.
We first discovered this wine when we were at the Artisan restaurant in Snowmass, CO for the Snowmass Culinary Festival. Local folks, you NEED to come to this festival – very budget friendly, SO much fun. We’re going again this summer!
Anyway. The tasting menu we had at the Artisan was to die for. I still have dreams about that lamb. And as good as the food was, the wine pairings were even better. Paired with that delicious lamb was a this Spanish Rioja from Marques del Riscal that I immediately tried to find back in town. I can get it for around $20, which makes it a perfect “everyday special occasion” kind of wine. Is our wine rack full of this stuff? Not quite. But it’s definitely our go-to for any kind of special(er) occasion – birthdays, anniversary, a gift for a wine lover, etc. It’s deep and earthy, yet fruity, and I knew it would pair fabulously with our elk (and would with any red meat).
For the more budget-conscious nights, we absolutely love almost anything from McManis: their Cabernet Sauvignon, the Syrah, the Petit Syrah, and even the Pinot Noir. Several of their wines are rated for being “best value” and shown up on lists in Bon Appetit and Food and Wine on several “best wines under $10” lists. And I can see why. Each easily tastes like a $10-$15 wine, easily. Yet I can get it for around $7-$8. This is the stuff we stock our wine rack with. I went with the Cabernet and the Petit Syrah for our elk dinner.
Stay tuned all week long for the recipes from our dinner party, more of our favorite elk recipes, general game-preparation tips, and even pictures of the ever-popular Elkerator. Ever seen what 222lbs of elk meat looks like? Well you will this week! And I’ll even throw in some pictures of my proud honey with his elk – you can see how big of a boy this elk really was.
Thank you Foodbuzz for highlighting our event!