This is a recipe that has been a long time coming. We prepared this magnificent dish on Dec 11 of 2005. This is a record recipe, which is to say it is as I prepared it. See notes for other options.
The mushroom and onion treatment is thanks to Jerry Ver Brugge, who gave us the method over the meat counter when he sold us our first flat-iron. The sauce treatment is a simplified version of Julia Child’s steak diane.
3.5 lbs chuck roast of elk
1/2 c. flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 onions roughly chopped
4 carrots trimmed and scrubbed, chunked
5 unpeeled garlic cloves
3 tomatoes quartered
1 bottle red wine
5 sprigs thyme
bouquet garni in cheesecloth or teaball:
–1/2 tsp chile flakes
–1″ thumb gingerroot scraped and pounded
1 lb maitake mushrooms sliced thin
2 onions sliced thin
salt + pepper
juice of 1 lemon
1. Preheat oven to 350?Ç¬?
2. Trim meat of excess fat. Cut into large pieces — 2-4″ cubes. Dredge meat in flour, then saute in batches in hot oil till well browned. Remove meat to bowl.
3. In an ovenproof casserole: Put some of the chopped onions on the bottom. Place meat on top. Add remaining onions, carrots, garlic, herbs, tomatoes, bouquet garni, and the bottle of wine. Cover pan and put it in the oven. Cook until meat is easily pierced with a fork: 3 to 4 hours.
4. While meat is cooking, prepare the mushrooms and onions. Saute mushroom slices in a bit of oil over high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the mushrooms are tender and have picked up some brown spots. Remove, with any juices, to a bowl. Heat some oil in the pan and saute the sliced onions over medium heat, stirring often, until they are well browned. Add a little water or wine if the onions stick. Once they are well browned, add them to the bowl with the mushrooms.
5. When the meat is tender, remove it to a platter. Strain the contents of the casserole into a bowl. Use a potato masher to press out the juices. Discard the solids (feed ’em to the chickens).
6. Pour the strained pan juices into a saute pan or saucepan. Over high heat, reduce to about 3/4 original volume. Taste the sauce and add a bit of lemon juice and/or brandy to bring up the flavor, and pinches of salt and pepper as necessary. When you are satisfied with the flavor of the sauce, stir in the mushrooms and onions and fold them into the sauce, cooking to heat through.
7. Slice the meat and arrange it on a warmed, ovenproof platter. Cover with a few spoonfuls of the sauce. Serve accompanied with the rest of the sauce to add at table. Good with mashed potatoes too!
8. The platter of sliced meat and sauce may be kept warm in the oven, covered in foil, until ready to serve.
–> This dish is good with beef chuck or flat-iron too. Of course you can vary the vegetables seasonally as well.
–> Maitake mushrooms must simply be tasted to be believed. If you can’t get fresh ones, you can substitute shiitake or even crimini mushrooms, and it will also be delicious. But you just gotta try maitake if you can get them.
–> To make a simpler stew version, just cook until the meat is tender, season with salt and pepper, and serve the meat, vegetables and sauce in bowls over hot noodles.
–> To freeze dish, mix the meat with the sauce and freeze. To serve, reheat and serve over buttered egg noodles, rice, or boiled or mashed potatoes.