Edible Bozeman

Seared Elk Loin with Blackberry Beet Reduction

Chef Greg Boynton has the well-deserved reputation of offering some of the best cooking classes in Bozeman, and his catering is a one-of-a-kind experience. We really appreciate that Boynton is exceptionally attentive to the details, but we love him even more for sharing this 20-minute bone-in elk rib roast that is worthy of Valentine’s Day for six. When cooking, remember that elk has a zero-fat ratio and should be served rare or medium rare at most.


For the elk

1 bone-in elk rib roast (about 3 pounds)
4 tablespoons light olive oil
4 tablespoons salted butter
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 fresh bay leaves
10 sprigs fresh thyme

For the blackberry beet reduction*

3 pounds raw red beets, washed
2 cups chicken stock*
1 tablespoon high-quality blackberry liqueur or crème de cassis
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons salted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
12 fresh blackberries

Preheat oven to 375°F. (If you have a convection option, use it!)

Generously salt and pepper all surfaces of the elk roast. Leave out at room temperature for 3 hours.

In a hot oven-safe cast-iron pan, sear all of the meat surfaces in light olive oil until golden brown. Lower heat and add butter, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme. Allow butter to melt, then baste with a spoon for 15 seconds.

Place cast iron into the convection oven for 8 minutes or until the internal temperature of the roast reaches 100°. Remove from the oven and transfer the meat from the pan to a sheet tray to rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, juice the beets and strain through a fine sieve. In a saucepan, bring the juice to a boil then skim off foam and repeat this process 4 times: strain, boil, skim.

Lower the heat and bring the juice to a simmer and then reduce until the juice is the consistency of heavy cream. Add chicken stock, liqueur, and vinegar and bring to a simmer. Whisk in butter and reduce to desired pourable consistency.

Adjust flavor with more liqueur and/or vinegar to balance sweetness and acid. Add salt and pepper to taste then warm the blackberries in the sauce for about 30 seconds prior to plating.

To plate, cut the roast into individual slices. Place chops with bones facing vertically, spoon hot sauce and berries over and around chops, and serve. This is delicious served with a roasted vegetable or potato mash.

*Boynton sells this and lots of other sauces and supplies directly through his online kitchen, chefgregmontana.com.

Wine Pairing

2021 Twelve Stones “Estate” Syrah

This cool-weather Syrah comes from the windy, foggy slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains deep in the redwoods southwest of San Jose in Northern California. The Syrah is floral and herbal on the nose, but beautifully balanced and powerful on the palate. It stands up well to dark, dense meat and pleasantly complements this elk loin with blackberry beet reduction.

Available at Hungry Moose Market & Deli in Big Sky. $42

Recommendation by Norm Page, sommelier at The WineTrust, Bozeman.

2021 Scar of the Sea Zinfandel “Lopez Vineyard” Rancho Cucamonga

This delightful Zin comes from the old wine country of the Cucamonga Valley 70 miles to the east of Los Angeles under the watchful eye of the San Gabriel Mountains. Due in part to the harsh growing conditions of the area’s desert-like soils, this Zin is light on its feet, fruity like a young-vine wine (although it was planted in 1918), and has zippy acidity to break through fatty, fruity dishes like our Asian beef tacos. It would also be fun to try with the blackberry beet reduction on the elk loin.

Available at Mischa’s in Bozeman. $36

Recommendation by Norm Page, sommelier at The WineTrust, Bozeman.


An excerpt from Game On: A Bird Hunter’s Table Reloaded by Sarah and Whitney Tilt

Wild game can be a substitute for commercially raised meat in many dinners. Cook game on the rare side to maintain both its flavor and moistness. In our kitchen, we work to follow three simple rules:

  1. Treat your game well on its road to the kitchen, and it will treat you well on the table. When in the field do a careful job to keep your game clean and cool, field dress as soon as convenient, and when completing the plucking and freezing make sure birds are clean and dry.
  2. Never overcook the meat. Duck, elk, and many other game animals provide a dark red meat. Cooked correctly, it will still be a dark red meat. It is always better to undercook. At worst, it can go back on the grill or in the oven.
  3. Use spices, herbs, and rubs to enhance, but not overpower. Too many cooks preparing game attempt to hide the native taste. We regularly start a recipe with garlic and onions, and we rely on a few spices to enhance the game. In addition to freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt, Chinese five spice, cumin, paprika, and red pepper flakes are mainstays. Basil, rosemary, sumac, and thyme are herbs to have on hand in fresh or dried form. We blend these spices and herbs into rubs and add additional flavors like coffee.

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