New Russian Elk, Sunchoke, and Truffle

Posted by Florian in Meat, Russian Food, tagged with , , ,

Another recipe inspired by my dinner at Moscow’s White Rabbit, this elk, sunchoke, and truffle dish is a much more classic pairing than, say, my previous brioche, herring, and foie gras, but I find it works beautifully – not least because I love game meat and sunchoke is my favorite root vegetable! While I didn’t want to add new ingredients, I felt like the dish could use a little bit more complexity. Served in a small plate, the elk stew covered with sunchoke purée and topped with sunchoke chips, shaved truffle, and mysterious crunchy bits was sufficient. But in a slightly larger portion like the one I’m serving here (and without the crunchy bits), the plate would feel a bit naked and boring. Some people say that less is more. I don’t disagree, but there does come a point when less is just less.

New Russian Elk, Sunchoke, and Truffle

So, to stick with the elk-sunchoke-truffle trio, I’m presenting the same ingredients in more forms:

  • In addition to the sunchoke purée and the sunchoke chips, I am making a brunoise of pickled sunchokes, adapted from a recipe by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, found here.
  • I’m also adding elk dumplings – think pelmeni, but deep-fried. Since you need very little meat for the dumpling filling, you might want to just cut it from the elk shanks before cooking them. (Shanks available here, by the way).

The result will transport you straight back to a long Russian winter’s night by the fireplace. And speaking of winter… For the black truffle, winter truffle is very much preferable to the insipid summer truffle – and well worth the price difference. If you don’t want to wait until the season starts, you can now purchase Australian winter truffles, produced from French Tuber melanosporum spores which were inoculated into the roots of young trees Down Under! And people keep whining about globalization…

New Russian Elk, Sunchoke, and Truffle

Pickled sunchokes
Yields over 4 servings

35 g peeled sunchokes
35 g white wine vinegar
15 g water
2.5 g sugar
1.5 g salt
0.5 g coriander seeds
0.5 g tablespoon black peppercorns
1 clove
0.5 g ground star anise

  • Using a mandoline, cut the sunchokes into 2 mm thick slices, and reserve in a heatproof bowl.
  • In a large saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, coriander seeds, peppercorns, clove, and star anise. Bring to a boil.
  • Pour the boiling pickling liquid over the sunchokes. Cover with plastic wrap, and let cool to room temperature.
  • Refrigerate overnight, and keep for up to 2 weeks.

Elk stew
Yields 4 servings

650 g elk (or venison) shanks (or osso buco)
salt
25 g canola oil
200 g peeled onions, large dice
100 g peeled carrots, large dice
100 g peeled parsnips, large dice
black pepper, ground
150 g red wine
200 g beef stock
1.5 g thyme sprigs
4 g parsley sprigs
1 clove
15 g butter

  • Season the elk meat with salt, then sauté in half of the oil in an oven-safe pot over high heat, until brown on all sides. Reserve.
  • In the same pot over high heat, sauté the onions, carrots, and parsnips in the remaining oil. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until the vegetables start to color, stirring frequently.
  • Still on high heat, add the red wine, and reduce by half. Add the beef stock, thyme, parsley, and clove. Bring back to a boil, then cover with a lid, and cook in a 120 C / 250 F oven for 5 hours, flipping the meat once or twice during that time.
  • Take the pot out of the oven, then let cool for a few minutes. Take the meat out, and reserve in a bowl. Pass the cooking liquid through a chinois, pushing hard with a ladle or a spatula to press the vegetables as much as possible. Reserve the stock, and discard the remaining solids.
  • Take the marrow out of the bones, and reserve separately for the dumplings (below). Shred the elk meat between your fingers, removing any silverskin that hasn’t dissolved during the cooking. Discard the bones.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, reduce the stock to 150 g, then whisk in the butter. Reserve 10 g of the sauce for the dumplings. Pour the rest over the meat and reserve. 
New Russian Elk, Sunchoke, and Truffle

Sunchoke purée
Yields 4 servings

320 g peeled sunchokes, medium dice
100 g heavy cream
120 g chicken stock
2 g salt

  • In a saucepan, combine the sunchokes, cream, chicken stock, and salt. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook over low heat until the sunchokes are tender, for 20-30 minutes. If the cream starts to overflow, remove from heat, stir with a spatula, and return to heat.
  • Transfer the mixture to a blender, and purée until smooth. Reserve.
New Russian Elk, Sunchoke, and Truffle

Sunchoke chips
Yields over 4 servings

50 g sunchokes, not peeled
canola oil, for deep-frying

  • Using a mandoline, cut the sunchokes into 2 mm thick slices. Soak in a bowl of cold water for an hour.
  • Take the sunchokes out of the water, and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Heat some canola oil in a deep-fryer (or large pot) to 190 C / 375 F. Deep-fry the sunchokes until they start to color, gently stirring the oil to submerge the slices. Drain on paper towels, and let cool. 
  • Deep-fry a second time until the center is golden brown – this ensures that the chips are crispy throughout. Drain on paper towels again, and reserve.
New Russian Elk, Sunchoke, and Truffle

Elk dumplings
Yields 4 servings

40 g elk (or venison) meat,  without silverskin, diced
15 g bone marrow from elk stew
0.5 g salt
black pepper, ground
10 g sauce from elk stew
10 g (less than 1) egg yolk
10 g water
4 wonton wrappers
canola oil, for deep frying

  • Place the elk meat and bone marrow in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, add the sauce, and combine. Pass the mixture through the fine die of a meat grinder into another bowl.  
  • In a small container, mix the egg yolk and water to make an egg wash.
  • Place the wonton wrappers on a clean work surface, and brush with egg wash. Place 16-18 g of filling in the middle of each one, then fold like nurses’ caps (see video here).
  • Heat some canola oil in a deep-fryer (or large pot) to 190 C / 375 F (you can reuse the oil from the sunchokes).
  • Just before serving, deep-fry the dumplings until golden brown, then drain on paper towels. Proceed with assembly below.
New Russian Elk, Sunchoke, and Truffle

Assembly
Yields 4 servings

elk stew
30 g red port wine
sunchoke purée
pickled sunchokes
elk dumplings
sunchoke chips
about 15-20 g black truffle (ideally winter truffle)

  • Reheat the elk stew in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in the port wine at the last minute.
  • Reheat the sunchoke purée in the microwave.
  • Pat dry the pickled sunchokes with paper towels, and cut into a fine brunoise.
  • Divide the elk stew between four bowls, and cover with sunchoke purée. Place one elk dumpling in the center of each bowl, and garnish with some sunchoke chips and pickled sunchoke brunoise (you will probably have leftovers of both). Use a Microplane grater to shave some black truffle all over, and serve.
New Russian Elk, Sunchoke, and Truffle
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