The opportunity to learn cooking techniques from well-known professional chefs is something you may look forward to. This opportunity comes to Billings each May when the MSU Billings Foundation holds the week-long Wine & Food Festival with the purpose of raising funds for student scholarships.
The professional chefs come from Montana as well as other regions of the United States and provide workshops focusing on a variety of cuisines. This is also an opportunity to learn more about wines, and different wines are selected to specifically fit with each course of the menu served. This year was the 25th anniversary of the event and I have enjoyed participating and learning for several of those years.
Following are three recipes I have selected from two of the classes I attended in previous years for you to try. I encourage you to look for the publicity that will come out for next year’s event when April rolls around again, select a class that sounds interesting to you, and take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy new wine and cuisine while you also contribute to student scholarships.
The following recipe for Skirt Steak Roulade with Asparagus, New Potatoes and Radish Sauté was prepared by Ian Troxler, a private chef and consultant at Big Sky’s Hungry Moose Market and Deli for the 2011 Cooking School, “Lunch in Montana — A Meal of Montana’s Best Agriculture”. Ian had also been the Executive chef at Lone Mountain Ranch and had been a semi-final nominee for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Northwest Region award for 2009 and 2010.
Skirt Steak Roulade
2 pounds skirt steak
1 cup packed mint leaves
½ cup packed fresh basil leaves
2 cups packed parsley
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon jalapeno, minced
2 ounces olive oil
Trim the skirt steak; score the steak. Rough chop the basil, parsley and mint. Put the chopped herbs along with the minced shallots, minced garlic, jalapeno and olive oil in a food processor; pulse mixture to form a paste. Brush the scored side of the skirt steak with the paste and roll. Tie with butcher’s twine. Grill or roast to a temperature of 140 degrees, medium, about 20 to 30 minutes. If you desire the meat to be more on the rare side, roast to a lower temperature. Let roulade rest for 15 minutes before removing twine and slicing. Serve with Asparagus, New Potato and Radish Sauté.
Asparagus, New Potato and Radish Sauté
3 cups new potatoes
1 pound asparagus or fresh pea pods
1 bunch radishes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Scrub potatoes and place in a saucepan; cover with water and cook until potatoes are just fork tender; drain. Cut potatoes into slices. Clean radishes and slice ¼ inch thick. Rinse asparagus; break off tough ends and cut or break into 2-inch pieces. Heat skillet over medium heat; add olive oil, then prepared vegetables. Sauté vegetables until asparagus is crisp tender and vegetables are heated through.
“Lunch in the Beartooth Mountains” was a 2003 Wine & Food Festival offering prepared by Eric Trager, Executive Chef and Peter Christ, owner at that time, of the popular Bridge Creek Backcountry Kitchen & Wine Bar in Red Lodge. The restaurant has since closed. One of the featured menu items of the class was the following recipe for Potato Brie Soup, a rich, well-flavored soup made special with the addition of Brie cheese. The menu also included Rocky Mountain Beef Salad with Huckleberry Vinaigrette, created with field greens, grilled New York Steak, and sautéed wild mushrooms. This is your opportunity to enjoy the potato soup as well and with the opportunity coming later this summer to access fresh huckleberries, be sure to obtain some of the berries to use in making this Huckleberry Vinaigrette.
Potato Brie Soup
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup yellow onion, diced
1 ounce Marsala wine
2 potatoes (peeled and diced) Idaho Yukon Gold
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
1 pint heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 ounces Brie, chopped into cubes
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 scallions, sliced on bias
In a soup pot sauté onions until slightly caramelized. Deglaze with Marsala wine or brandy. Cook off the alcohol. Add the diced potatoes and stock, then simmer for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Heat cream separately, then stir into pot along with seasonings and bring back to simmer. Mix Brie and cornstarch together in a bowl (this will help keep Brie from forming clumps plus thicken soup). Stir Brie into soup until melted. Simmer for 3 – 5 minutes. Puree with immersion blender, hand mixer or blender. Serve garnished with sliced scallions and chunks of Brie if desired.
½ cup quick frozen huckleberries (reserve half)
1 cup white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh sage (chopped)
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups vegetable oil
*To chop the fresh sage, stack the leaves, roll, slice ⅛-inch thick, then chop. With immersion blender or food processor, puree ¼ cup huckleberries, vinegar, mustard, honey, sage and salt. While continuing to process, very slowly add the oil to create an emulsion. Stir in the remaining huckleberries.