Get a new taste of the Old West straight from the historic The Fort restaurant.
The Fort restaurant in Morrison, Colorado is a game meat-lover’s dreamland, but there’s more to the history and culinary twists at this replica of Bent’s Old Fort than bison and Rocky Mountain oysters. To tell the truth, it’s hard to go wrong at The Fort, especially if you order a side of the Thomas Jefferson-inspired macaroni and cheese. The perennial comfort food is a surprisingly light preparation of elbow macaroni in a béchamel sauce that’s mixed with Gruyère. Of course, game remains the big draw. So, below we share two recipes: a bone-in elk chop topped with sweet and tart huckleberry preserves and a delightful s’mores rendition that brings a campfire favorite into the fine-dining realm.
Elk Chops St. Vrain with Huckleberry Preserves
1 (2- to 3-pound) cervena (elk) rack, cut into 8 bone-in chops
4 tablespoons Char Crust Original
Hickory Grilled Dry Rub (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup huckleberry preserves, heated
Lightly coat the chops with canola oil and season both sides with the Char Crust rub, salt, and pepper. Grill over high heat, 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Place 2 chops on each plate and top with 2 to 3 tablespoons of warm huckleberry preserves.
Campfire S’Mores Crème Brûlée
Graham Cracker and Cream Base
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
2 – 3 tablespoons butter
1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup sugar
⅓ cup chocolate liqueur
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 large egg yolks
In a small sauté pan, melt the butter and add the graham cracker crumbs. Mix together until uniform in color. Set aside.
In a small pot, combine cream and sugar over medium heat. Slowly whisk the chocolate liqueur and vanilla into the cream mixture. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk yolks while slowly adding the cream mixture. Add three-quarters of the cream and then combine all together in the pot.
Take 4 Mason jars and scoop 2 heaping tablespoons of the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each jar. Layer 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips on top. Pour cream mixture into each jar until it is half or three-quarters full. Place jars in a cake pan half-full of water and bake at 275 degrees for 1½ hours or until the centers are bouncy.
Homemade Marshmallow Topping
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
2 ounces corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
⅓ cup powdered sugar
⅓ cup cornstarch
½ cup egg whites
In a small pot, combine sugar, water, powdered gelatin, and corn syrup, and begin to bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When the mixture reaches 200 degrees on a candy thermometer, start to whip the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form. When the temperature of the gelatin mixture reaches 240 degrees, remove the pan from the heat. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the candy mixture into the stiff egg whites. When all is added, increase mixer speed to medium and mix until the bottom of the bowl has cooled.
In a separate bowl, mix powdered sugar and cornstarch. Dust the bottom of a flat cake pan with the mixture. Pour marshmallow into the pan and spread out evenly. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight for best results. Slice into 1½-inch squares.
Preheat broiler. Place 4 to 5 marshmallow squares on top of each S’mores Crème Brûlée base in the Mason jars. Place the jars on the top rack of the oven and broil topping until surface is golden brown. Watch closely, as it only takes about 1 minute or so to brown!
Recipes edited and excerpted with permission from Shinin’ Times at The Fort: Stories, Recipes, and Celebrations from the Landmark Colorado Restaurant by Holly Arnold Kinney (Fur Trade Press, 2010).
From the February/March 2015 issue.