Aromas of mushrooms, tarragon, Italian herbs and root vegetables pulled together with a sweet, rich coffee stout make the temptation to steal a taste of this moist, nearly falling apart roast irresistible.
With winter hurling itself at us one more time last weekend and with a two-and-a-half pound cut of moose in the fridge, I decided it would be the perfect day to try something new – a slow-cooked roast. While I had in my imagination something beef brisket like, moist and practically falling apart, having never cooked anything like that, I wasn’t really sure how to go about the task. The cut of moose I had was very lean. Meanwhile, Barbra’s home-brewed Sunday Morning Stout, a rich, sweet, dark beer with a hint of coffee had just finished bottle-aging. How about a slow-cooked Sunday Morning Moose Roast?
I’m happy to report that after six hours in the oven, the roast came out moist, flavorful and pulling apart with ease. That evening, we served this dish on rice with a wonderful bottle of Malbec while snow fell outside our dining room window. Over the following days, the moose was featured in omelets, pulled moose barbecue sandwiches (yum!), on lumaca rigata pasta (the hollow shape captured the broth perfectly), and, once the moose meat was gone, as a hearty vegetable soup.
This dish was surprisingly easy. Although I prepared it in a sauteuse in the oven, I’m sure this recipe would work well in a slow cooker. Canned soup soup or broth could be substituted for the from-scratch broth described below, but don’t skimp on the stout. Use a generous amount of a good one. Beef or lamb would no doubt be delicious in this recipe as well. Add a few chunks of rutabaga or parsnips for additional flavor.
Sunday Morning Moose Roast
You will need an oven-safe sauteuse with a lid or a lidded pot large enough to hold the meat and vegetables. Alternatively, a slow-cooker can be used.
- 2 to 3 pound cut of meat suitable for roasting. I used moose shoulder.
- 4 cups dehydrated mushrooms* (or use 1 pound fresh mushrooms and beef or mushroom broth)
- 1 cup cream
- 16 ounces of a favorite stout beer (I used a coffee stout)
- small whole potatoes
- (optional) rutabaga, parsnips or other root vegetables, cut into chunks
- 3 shallots, sliced (or substitute 1 sweet onion)
- 1 bulb garlic, cloves peeled and slightly crushed, but left whole
- carrots cut into chunks (or use baby carrots)
- 2 or 3 stocks of celery, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
- Worcestershire Sauce
- freshly cracked black pepper
- sea salt
- Italian herb blend
- extra virgin olive oil
- Place oven rack on next to lowest level. Preheat oven to 220° F.
- Season meat liberally on all sides with cracked pepper and sea salt. Set aside.
- Place dehydrated mushrooms in a sauteuse or other sufficiently large pan and add water to hydrate – about 6 to 8 cups. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer till mushrooms are tender.
- Remove mushrooms and set aside but keep the mushroom broth.
- Stir cream into the mushroom broth, add tarragon, Worcestershire sauce and sea salt to taste. Continue cooking at a high simmer until broth is slightly reduced.
- Stir in stout and add Italian herb blend. Continue simmering over low heat.
- Meanwhile, in a separate frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and sauté until just soft. Add shallots and garlic to mushroom broth.
- Remove pan from heat. Place seasoned meat into broth.
- Add mushrooms and all the vegetables except for the celery, arranging them in the liquid around the meat. There should be sufficient liquid to cover just over half the roast.
- Cover the pan and place into oven.
- After 4 hours, add the celery. Cover and continue cooking for two more hours.
- After 6 hours, remove pan from oven. Taste broth to determine if additional salt or seasonings are needed.
- Serve over rice, on pasta or as is. Accompany with the same stout used in cooking, or with a full-bodied red wine such as a Zinfandel, Cabernet or Malbec.
*The Dried Gourmet Mushroom Mix from the Wild Mushroom company works particularly well in this dish.