Chef Cartwright uses fresh wild mushrooms and tender, farm-raised venison. Home cooks may wish to substitute a mixture of fresh and dried mushrooms and beef tenderloin for these somewhat difficult-to-locate ingredients. As long as the stock that forms the foundation of the sauce is the real thing -- no canned soup! - the results will be worthy of four stars.
1 2-pound venison loin (thin outer skin and all fat removed), or substitute 2-pound length of beef tenderloin
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 pound fresh porcini mushrooms or the same amount of white mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 tablespoon dry white wine
1 1/2 cups venison or beef stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
(1 ounce dried porcini or cepes, if using white mushrooms)
1/2 pound Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into small dice
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Put on a large pot of water to boil for the potatoes. Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Season meat lightly with salt and pepper. Place a frying pan over high heat and let it heat up, then add 1 tablespoon each of the oil and butter. Add the meat and brown it on all sides, shaking the pan to keep it from sticking and burning. Transfer meat from the frying pan to a small roasting pan, and set the frying pan aside, unwashed. Roast meat for 5 minutes (10 for beef). Remove from oven and keep warm. While it waits for the sauce, held heat will finish cooking it to medium-rare. Place reserved frying pan over medium-high heat and add remaining butter. Cook the sliced mushrooms for 1 or 2 minutes, then add the white wine, stock, and three-fourths of the cream (and the dried porcini). Lower heat to medium; cook, stirring frequently, until sauce is reduced to spoon-coating consistency, about 15 minutes. After sauce has been cooking for about 5 minutes, put the potatoes in the boiling water. Cook until soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and mash, adding the remaining olive oil and the remaining cream. Season to taste. Add chives to the sauce, and season to taste.To serve, slice the meat. Mound a fourth of the potatoes at the side of a plate and make a pool of sauce beside it. Place meat slices on the sauce and serve at once.