STS Bar & Grill: Antelope Medallions with Mustard Cream Pan Sauce
Pronghorn antelope get a bad rap as table fare. I have a theory as to why. Somewhere along the way, their abundance, combined with their preference for wide-open country, spawned a hunting culture that, in some corners, accepted long range shooting as the norm. This in turn resulted in too many wounded critters putting in too many high speed miles before meeting their demise. Stir in the heat of an early autumn hunting season and you’ve got a reliable recipe for some real grimace worthy meals. You don’t have to politely struggle through too many plates of that at the neighbors’ before arriving at a firm conviction that pronghorn just isn’t for you.
Which is a shame because cleanly killed, quickly dressed, meticulously butchered antelope is, in my opinion, just about the tastiest thing on four hooves. It has a depth and complexity of flavor that you’ll never find coming from a cellophane wrapped Styrofoam boat. And tender? You can cut well-prepared pronghorn with a popsicle stick.
For years now, I’ve been on a personal mission to right the wrong of antelope’s ill-deserved culinary reputation. I’m waging this hearts and minds campaign primarily with tools of my own devising – preparations that compliment and accentuate what pronghorn brings to the table instead of beating it into submission. It’s been a trial and error process, with plenty of misses along the way, but the quick and easy recipe below is a sure fire hit, guaranteed to bring even the staunchest speed-goat-phobe into the fold. The mustard’s upfront acidity and breathy undertones serve as balanced counterpoints to the steak’s unapologetic meatiness, while the cream lends fat to the lean protein, and a certain silky structure to the ultra-tender medallions.
Medallions of Pronghorn with Mustard Cream Pan Sauce
What you’ll need…
Pronghorn Backstrap – 1 pound
Heavy Cream – 1 cup
Dijon Mustard – 3 tablespoons
Butter – 1 tablespoon
Step 1: Pat back-strap liberally with kosher salt and freshly ground mixed pepper, then pan fire in a small, cast iron skillet ala Pan Fired Elk Steak. Be very careful not to overcook. Antelope leaps from raw to tragically overdone in a snap. Err on the side of raw if need be. You can always throw it back on, and you’re shooting for deep red rare anyway. Kill the flame and set the meat aside to a plate or cutting board.
Step 2: Pour a sturdy shot of brandy into the center of the pan. While it boils, use a wooden spoon or spatula to loosen the crusty bits of meat and seasoning from the pan.
Step 3: A few seconds before the last of the brandy has disappeared, throw in the butter. Continue stirring and working up all of the pan goodies.
Step 4: Add the cream and return pan to a medium / medium high flame. Simmer, stirring and scraping the sides occasionally, until reduced by ¼ and thickened, about 5 minutes.
Step 5: Add mustard. Stir to combine and continue simmering for a few more minutes until the flavors meld. Salt and pepper to taste.
Step 6: Slice back-strap into ¼ inch thick medallions. Tile medallions onto plates like fallen dominoes and pour a line of sauce across the top. Bring remaining sauce to the table in a gravy boat or ramekin. It won’t hang around long, particularly once you round out the plate with rice and asparagus.