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Peppered Elk Backstrap with Oregon Pinot Noir Huckleberry Sauce

Yields1 ServingPrep Time25 minsCook Time45 minsTotal Time1 hr 10 mins

Pinot Noir is the perfect ingredient to enhance the flavor of the game.

elk recipe

For the Elk
 1 elk backstrap, trimmed of fat and silverskin, about 12 ounces
 4 tbsp vegetable oil
 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
 1 tsp coarsely cracked black peppercorns
 ¼ tsp kosher salt
For the Sauce
 3 tbsp vegetable oil
 ½ large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
 1 celery rib, coarsely chopped
 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
 ½ Granny Smith apple, diced (no need to core)
 1 cup Oregon pinot noir
 ½ cup Ruby Port
 3 cups chicken stock
 1 sprig fresh thyme
 ½ cup + 2 tablespoons fresh or frozen Oregon huckleberries
For the Elk

Rub the elk with 2 tablespoons oil, thyme, peppercorns and salt. Let stand for 1 hour at room temperature.


Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Heat a large, ovenproof skillet on high, then add the rest of the oil.


When the oil is almost smoking, add the elk and sear on all sides, about 2 minutes total, then transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the elk until the internal temperature reaches 120 degrees (for medium rare), 5 to 6 minutes.


Let rest for 5 minutes before carving.

For the sauce

Heat the oil in a 4-quart saucepan on high. Add onion, celery, carrots and apple.


Sauté over high heat, stirring often, until the vegetables caramelize slightly, about 10 to 15 minutes.


Add the Oregon pinot noir and port. Simmer briskly until reduced to a syrup, about 15 minutes.


Add the chicken stock, thyme and ½ cup huckleberries. Simmer until reduced to a sauce consistency, about 30 minutes.


Strain through a fine sieve, pressing on the solids. You should have about ½ cup sauce.


Return the sauce to a small saucepan and add the remaining 2 tablespoons huckleberries.

To serve

Slice the elk about ¼-inch thick. Arrange the elk on dinner plates and spoon the sauce around it, not over it.