Moose With Chocolate Red Wine Sauce
A few months ago I was in Norway and happened to be going through my Oslo friend’s freezer (as one does) and found a jewel. A beautiful piece of moose tenderloin. I had never worked with moose before, but was grasping for the opportunity. I ended up making this moose with chocolate red wine sauce and we both loved it!
Most people aren’t hunters, so opportunities to cook big game are rare. Luckily in Scandinavia everyone seems to know someone who hunts moose so getting some for a special occasion is not unheard of.
What Is The Difference Between Moose And Elk?
A moose and elk are the same animal, depending on where you are. The animal Alces alces is called moose in North America and Elk in Eurasia.
However, North America has another animal called an elk (Cervus canadensis) which is a different animal. Thus, if you are an American in Sweden and someone offers you elk, they are offering you moose. If you are a Swede in Canada and someone offers you elk, you’re going to get deer known as wapiti in Shawnee and Cree Native American languages.
How To Cook Moose Tenderloin
Moose tenderloin, just like its beef counterpart, comes from the area in between the sirloin and top sirloin of the animal. Because the muscle is barely used, it is the most tender (hence the name) cut of meat. It is commonly used in recipes like filet mignon and chateaubriand.
Cooking a moose tenderloin is actually very easy. I just salt the meat and then sear it on all sides. Next pop it in the oven until done. It is such a straightforward method it is basically impossible to mess up.
In a hot pan add a bit of oil and place your piece of meat right in there. You see that strip of white on the meat? It is called the silverskin and should be removed. This is just fascia, or connective tissue, that does not cook well and will be chewy when eaten. Yes, I forgot to remove it for the picture – oops.
After you have seared all sides, wrap the moose in foil and place in an oven preheated to 180 Celsius for about 8-10 minutes. My piece of moose is about 4 inches or 10 centimeters in diameter, so if you are using a larger piece, aim to cook on the higher side.
While the moose is cooking in the oven, and resting after you take it out, you can do the chocolate and red wine sauce.
Making A Chocolate Red Wine Sauce For Moose
In a pan on medium high heat add some lardons, shallot, and smashed garlic along with a sprinkle of salt and cook down. We want to reduce the fat from the lardons to bring extra richness to the sauce.
Add red wine to the pan. Bring the heat up higher and reduce the wine by about 50%. Stir the pan continuously to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom.
Next add beef stock, rosemary, and some freshly cracked black pepper. Keep the heat high and reduce again another 50%.
Strain your sauce into a new vessel and immediately whisk in your grated chocolate. The residual heat will evenly melt the chocolate without causing the sauce to curdle. I also added a little plum vinegar to freshen up the flavors just a bit, as the sauce is extremely rich.
What To Serve With Moose
I served this moose with chocolate red wine sauce atop some herb roasted celery root, but you can use anything that pairs well with meat like mashed rutabaga, roast parsnips, or even some klugg og fett which are old fashioned Norwegian dumplings. Velbekomme!
Q: How should moose be cooked?
A: Moose can be cooked about as rare as you like it. While it is not ‘recommended’ to go raw, there certainly are moose tartare dishes out there. I would recommending going no higher than medium rare as the meat is so lean you will turn it to leather.
Q: What does moose taste like?
A: Moose is essentially a large deer and as such has a similar flavor profile. I do find large older moose (or meese as I like to call them) have a more gamey flavor – but that’s something I particularly love.
Q: Is frozen moose as good as fresh?
A: Fresh moose butchered immediately will always taste better than moose meat you freeze at home. However if you or your butcher have access to a flash freezer then there is virtually no difference in taste. This is because the flash freezing reduces the cell wall breakage due to expanding water in the muscle.
Q: Why do wine and chocolate make such a good sauce?
A: Both red wine and dark chocolate are rich ingredients. However they are rich in different yet complementary ways. Both ingredients are used to balance the gaminess of game meats, and together they do an even tastier job.
Moose With Chocolate Red Wine Sauce
- 1 Pan
- 1 Oven
- 1 Sieve To strain the sauce
- 500 grams Moose Tenderloin this is a little over a pound
- 1 tbsp Salt enough to sprinkle around the outside of the piece of meat
- 1 tbsp Butter or neutral oil
Chocolate Red Wine Sauce
- 2 Shallots Peeled and cut in chunks
- 3 cloves Garlic smashed
- 100 grams Lardons can use pancetta or bacon as a substitute
- 1 cup Red Wine something rich like Merlot or Pinot Noir
- 1 cup Beef Stock homemade, or store- bought with no added salt
- 3 sprigs Rosemary
- 2 tsp Black Peppercorns freshly cracked
- 1/2 tsp Salt more or less to taste
- 1 tsp Dark Chocolate finely grated
- 1 tsp Plum Vinegar optional
- Clean your moose tenderloin and sprinkle salt on all sides. Place in a pan on high heat with a bit of butter/oil and brown all the sides.
- Place the moose in a loose foil pack and put in an oven preheated to 180 Celsius for about 10 minutes for a perfect medium-rare.
- While the moose is in the oven (and after you pull it out to rest) you can work on the chocolate red wine sauce.
Chocolate Red Wine Sauce
- In a pan on medium heat add the lardons. When they begin to render some of their fat add in the shallots and smashed garlic. Cook until shallots are translucent.
- Add in the red wine and turn the heat up high. Reduce by 50%
- Add in the beef stock, rosemary, and peppercorns, and reduce again by 50%
- Whisk in the salt and then strain the sauce into a fresh container. Whisk in the finely grated chocolate now the sauce is off the heat to prevent curdling. If you would like, here you can also add the vinegar for a bit of freshness and to lift the sauce.
- Slice your moose tenderloin into relatively thick slices and plate on a bed of whatever starch you are using. I used roasted celery root but you can use mashed potatoes, roast carrots, or a plethora of other choices. Spoon over the rich chocolate wine sauce and enjoy!
Moose with chocolate red wine sauce
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