When it comes to the outdoors in Idaho this time of the year, its the hunt and the feast.
Thats the philosophy of former Boise white-tablecloth-service restaurant owner Peter Schott, who continues to be on the go hunting deer and elk, gathering mushrooms and catching steelhead.
As to cooking, hunting and gathering in the forest, we are able to do more than ever now, said Schott, who is out of the restaurant business and is an associate real estate broker with John L. Scott in Boise.
His restaurant, Peter Schotts, was a fixture at the Idanha Hotel in Downtown Boise for 27 years starting in the late 70s. He also owned the Sports Pub and Grill in Boise until about seven years ago.
Schott and his wife, Emily, now enjoy getting together with a group of friends who love the outdoors and the bounties from fishing and hunting, and matching them with fine wines.
Game cooking is our most favorite, and every part of the animal is used, said Schott. That means nothing is left but the hide. Even some of the undesirable pieces and organs are made into dog food.
That no-waste philosophy is why he called me up and wanted to share his famous brown sauce with hunters.
The brown sauce, or espagnole, can be stored in the freezer and used to make any kind of meat sauce, not just deer or elk, but other types of roasts chicken, duck or steak.
Youll have that extra ingredient that makes you Le Chef de Cuisine, he said.
The brown sauce also makes a great gift, especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas to make your friends and familys turkey gravy a raving success, he said.
Schott admits his recipe is a two-day undertaking, but its worth it.
Remember, its the hunt and the feast. Guten Appetit, he said.
And by the way, Schott has no desire to get back into the restaurant business. Hes having too much fun pursuing Idahos wild game bounties.
Heres his recipe:
VENISON BROWN SAUCE
2 1/2 gallons of golf-ball-size chopped elk, moose or deer bones as well as trimmings from butchering. You can use an ax or band saw to cut the bones.
Wash and cut the following into 1/2-inch cubes (do not peel any of the vegetables):
1 bunch of celery
3 leek stalks
2 medium yellow onions
1 head of garlic
4 tablespoons thyme
1 handful chicken base (optional)
1 small can tomato paste
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the bones into a large roasting pan. Add 2 cups of water and roast in the oven for 3 hours until dark brown, stirring every 1/2 hour.
Add all the vegetables and continue roasting for another hour. All the water will now be evaporated.
Remove browned bones and place into a large stock pot, scraping all brown bits, including the rendered oil, into the pot.
Add the rest of the ingredients from the roasting pan plus the tomato paste and chicken base.
Add hot water and fill to about 4 inches above the bones. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a slight simmer. At this point, the water will turn to a rust color.
Gently simmer for 7 to 8 hours. If the liquid falls below the bone level, add water to 2 inches above the bones.
Strain off the liquid with a fine-mesh strainer and discard the bones and vegetables. At this point, all of the tallow (fat) of the venison bones and trimmings is still in the liquid.
Place the strained liquid into the fridge or cool place overnight. All the fat will rise to the top and form a very hard fat layer. Remove this layer of fat. (Schott takes it outside along with the extra elk and deer fat from butchering and lets the birds have it. Theyll be thankful, he said.)
The strained sauce goes back onto the stove at medium heat. Youll reduce the volume by half by simmering for hours.
Then add salt to taste.
The result should be a (slightly) gelatinous, beautifully rust-colored, rich and tasty brown sauce that will be the envy of all your friends, Schott said.
Put sauce in plastic cups and close them with plastic wrap and rubber bands. Store them in the freezer.
If you reduced the sauce by 3/4 by simmering, you would have a demi glaze. When cooled, it would resemble the consistency of aspic or Jell-o. A spoonful of that will go a long way.
This sauce does not have the gamey taste that people dislike, Schott said.
Schott makes this sauce every year during big game season, and it lasts him all year. It eliminates the need for what he calls inferior store-bought sauces.
He intentionally doesnt thicken the sauce with flour because his espagnole sauce serves as an enhancer to many dishes. Once added and further reduced, it eliminates the need for flour.
Those preferring a thickened sauce can combine one part melted butter with one part flour and cool it in the fridge. Then, while stirring, crumble the Beurre Marnier into a simmering sauce until your desired creamy consistency is accomplished.
Good hunting and enjoy the feast.
Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors
Statesman outdoor writer Pete Zimowskys column appears every other Sunday in Life.