26 October 2010

Roast Moose

Ah, where to begin. The last few days have been extremely stressful, and as a treat to both me and Lundulph I made roast moose. As in roast beef, but with moose instead.


After all it is hunting season in Sweden and there's game in every shop and I picked up a lovely piece of moose roast, just over a kilo.

And of course it is mushroom season, as I've mentioned earlier. So my treasure box of frozen girolles had to be included.

We also had quite a bit of luck in that the first frost hit us at the end of last week. I'd been wondering how long it would be, because I've grown Jerusalem artichokes this year and read somewhere that they shouldn't be harvested until after the first frost, as that's when they develop their sweetness. Thus last Saturday I dragged Lundulph out of his cave and into the garden to witness the first harvesting of these lovely roots. And I barely scraped the surface and there were loads of them and a good size they were too.


Given the preciousness of the moose, I did quite a bit of research on recipes and decided on this one. It's in Swedish and I had to make some changes to it, as I didn't have time to go to the Scandinavian shop and get the required messmör. According to wikipedia, this translates to soft whey butter. I've never been a fan of it myself, but I haven't tried it for many years and this was to be used in cooking, which tends to change things.

Anyway, on with the recipe. On a side note, they claim this is for 4 people, though I'd say 6 portions is more likely.

The Roast
1.2 kg moose roast
salt and pepper
butter for browning
1 whole head of garlic

Roasting Liquid
1 tbsp juniper berries
1 largish onion, about 120 g
3 dl water
0.5 dl white wine vinegar
1 cube of mushroom stock

Side Dish
450 g Jerusalem artichokes
550 g potatoes
50 g butter
3 dl double cream
0.5 dl milk
300 g parboiled girolles
salt and pepper

Madeira sauce
1 largish onion, about 120 g
30 g butter
1 tsp dried thyme
3 dl Madeira
1 tbsp corn flour
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp double cream

  1. Pre-heat the oven at 145 degrees C.

  2. Pat the roast dry, then season and brown off in butter on all sides. Then place in a roasting tin and set aside.

  3. Peel the garlic cloves, then fry in the same pan as the meat until the cloves just start getting a bit of colour. Then remove from the pan and chop finely.

  4. Make 5 - 6 cuts in the roast, then stuff all the garlic into the cuts. Then stick a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat.

  5. Crush the juniper berries and put in a saucepan.

  6. Dice the onion and add it to the berries, then add water, vinegar and the stock cube and bring to the boil.

  7. Pour into the roasting tin, then place it in the middle of the oven and let roast until the inner temperature has reached 55 degrees C. This will take about 75 - 80 minutes.

  8. Wash and peel the Jerusalem artichokes and cut into pieces. Wash and peel the potatoes and slice thinly, about 3 mm thick.

  9. Fry the potatoes in the butter, stirring regularly.

  10. In the mean time, bring the cream, milk and Jerusalem artichokes to a boil in a saucepan and simmer until the artichokes are soft, about 15 minutes.

  11. As the potatoes start to soften, add the girolles and fry for a further 5 minutes or so.

  12. When the artichokes are done, pour them along with the cream into the pan with potatoes and mushrooms. Stir well and season, then let simmer for a few more minutes.

  13. When the potatoes are done, transfer to an oven-safe dish and place in the oven to keep hot until serving time.

  14. When the meat is almost ready, finely dice the onion for the Madeira sauce, then fry together with the thyme in butter for a few minutes until it goes translucent.

  15. Pour in the Madeira and simmer until it is reduced by half.

  16. When the meat is ready, take out of the oven and strain the roasting liquid into the Madeira sauce. Set the meat aside and cover with aluminium foil and let rest. Make sure to turn the meat once or twice to allow the juices to distribute.

  17. Bring the Madeira sauce to the boil and simmer for another couple of minutes. In the mean time stir the corn flour into the water, then add to the sauce to thicken it. Then finally add the cream and stir through.

  18. When ready to serve, cut the meat into as thin slices as possible. It should be very pink in the middle. Serve with the creamy side dish and the Madeira sauce.

The changes I made are thus the swap out of the messmör and the use of a mushroom stock cube. I think I got it from Bulgaria, the original recipe calls for a beef stock cube. And the piece of moose I had was 1.2 kg, where the recipe called for 1.5 kg. It also recommended rowan berry jelly, which I didn't have. I should also have steamed some green vegetables like French beans or broccoli, if only to make it more esthetically pleasing.

The roast turned out very well, though next time I'll make sure to cut it lengthwise for the stuffing, so that every slice gets a little garlic.

The sauce turned out very sweet, I didn't realise that Madeira is such a sweet wine and I reduced it a bit too much perhaps, so that I added the remaining couple of tablespoons from the bottle (37.5 ml size). When I crushed the juniper berries, their smell was so strong I really worried that they'd dominate everything, but they mellowed out nicely. There was of course quite a sharpness to it as well, thanks to the vinegar. I suspect that using the messmör rather than regular cream would take off some of the sweetness as well. I do believe messmör is salty on the whole. On it's own the sauce generally felt wrong for the food, however combined with the meat and the side dish, everything balanced out quite nicely.

The best thing for me was the side dish (I don't really know what to call it). I was worried that the potatoes wouldn't cook through and the artichokes would collapse. As it happened I ended up keeping the side dish in the oven for about 20 minutes, so if there were any half-done potatoes to begin with, they certainly finished cooking in the oven. Besides, since I discovered Jerusalem artichokes a couple of years back, I've only used them in my Bulgarian lentil soup, where they work fabulously, but I really like the flavour and it was a wonderful surprise to discover how well they combine with the girolles and I could happily have eaten just this side dish and for a whole week at that. I'm well pleased that my first attempt at growing Jerusalem artichokes had such tasty results.

Lundulph liked this meal as well, though with his sensitive tummy, he wasn't able to enjoy the side dish as much, the artichokes are a bit strong for him. Still, after having had this combo twice, I sliced up the remaining 600 g of moose, divided into 3 portions and froze. Lundulph froze the remainder of the sauce, which by the way was not enough for all the meat and the side dish, which there was still a lot of. Though we both suspect the side dish won't freeze well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That sounds really interesting and delicious too, I'd love to try moose.

Well done on your Jerusalem artichokes, I love them and had almost forgotten it was nearly time to eat them again, exciting!