We stocked up on some fresh bison, duck sausages, and lamb merguez for the freezer. Thanks to custom butchers like Derek, I almost never buy meat from the supermarket. All my meat is sourced locally from animals that were raised and harvested humanely by people I know.
We made créme frâiche by folding raw milk into buttermilk and letting it culture overnight, then tossed it with fava beans, preserved lemon slivers, and little lamb meatballs, over homemade pasta made from Snowdrift Farms eggs.
Our bison tenderloin was rubbed with fennel pollen and seared in a blazing hot skillet. It was finished in the oven with a sauce of roasted red grapes, heavenly with our Jackson Hole Winery Catch and Release Zin.
Yes, we were happy locavores indeed. And when we paused from our feasting for a moment to consider all the people who contributed to our meal--the cheese and winemakers, the butcher, the baker, the dairy and vegetable farmers--we were grateful locavores too.
Wild Game Tenderloin with Roasted Red Grapes
Fennel pollen can be ordered online at spice shops, or brought back from Tuscany in your suitcase.
Serves 6, easily doubled
For the meat:
• 1 1lb. wild game tenderloin, at room temperature
• 3 T. butter, at room temperature
• 1 T. Kosher salt
• 2 tsp. fennel pollen (optional)
• freshly ground pepper
• 1 T. grapeseed or canola oil for seering
For the sauce:
• T. olive oil
• 1/2 pound seedless red or black grapes
• 1 T. balsamic vinegar
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Sprigs of fresh thyme, for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
2. Rinse the grapes and remove the stems. Lay them out on a kitchen towel to dry. Toss with the olive oil in a 12-inch oven-safe skillet and place in the oven. Roast for 20 minutes, or until the grapes are beginning to burst and become saucey.
3. While the grapes are roasting, prepare the tenderloin. Trim off any silver skin, and dry well with paper towels. Rub with softened butter, and sprinkle with Kosher salt, fennel pollen, and freshly ground pepper.
4. Heat the grapeseed or canola oil in a 12-inch frying pan over high heat. Once it starts to smoke, add the tenderloin and sear for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until the surface is starting to brown. Set aside.
5. When the grapes are done, place them on the stovetop and nestle the tenderloin in the center. Reduce the oven temperature to 250ºF. Once the oven has cooled down, put the skillet back in the oven for 10 minutes, or until a meat thermometer placed into the center of the loin registers 115ºF. Set the tenderloin aside to rest on a plate.
6. Meanwhile, heat the skillet of grapes over medium high heat (remember that the handle will be hot!); add 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt, and toss for a few minutes until the sauce reduces and thickens.
7. Carve the tenderloin into 1-inch slices, and serve with the roasted grape sauce. Garnish with the fresh thyme, crushing the sprigs a bit with your fingers to release their leaves.