(Think French Bourguignon Made Easy)
My inspiration for this dish was a classic French Bourguignon, but who has time for that. Bourguignon can get a little complicated with all of the steps required to do it the French way. In wanting the flavor and feel of this classic French dish but preparing it like a classic American stew, I achieved a nice balance between old and new world. This is perfect to cook on Sunday and enjoy the rest of the kind of week dish. It’s excellent to add to your winter recipe rotation, and a great way to use tougher cuts of elk and venison.
I have prepared this dish as one of my camp meals for 2nd rifle elk season. It is easy to store, freezes well, and will feed a group for multiple days. Dishes like this one can be made several months in advance and freezes well in vacuum bags. Do yourself a favor and plan meals well ahead of your hunts. You have my word this Elk Stew will be a big hit in camp!
Recipe by Chef Lance Lewis
- 2lb of Elk round cut into 1 ½ x 1 ½ inch chunks
- 6 strips Thick Cut Bacon cut into 1-inch sections
- 3 TBSP High Temp Neutral Oil (canola, avocado, peanut)
- 1 Medium yellow onion diced
- 3 medium carrots peeled and cut into 1 to 2inch segments
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 3 TSBS AP Flour
- 32 oz Beef Bone Stock
- 1 Bottle Bold Red Wine (Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot)
- 2 TBSP Tomato paste
- 2 sprigs Thyme and Rosemary
- 1 Bay Leaf (tie together with butchers’ twine with Thyme and Rosemary)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 8 to 10 Pearl Onions Peeled
- 8 to 10 White Mushrooms quartered
- 2 strips Thick Cut Bacon cut into 1-inch sections
- 2 TBSP High Temp Neutral Oil (canola, avocado, peanut)
- 2 sprigs Thyme and Rosemary
- In Dutch Oven or Brazier add bacon and cover with approximately an inch of water and bring to simmer. Allow to simmer until all water has cooked off and bacon becomes crispy. (By adding water, the bacon will render more fat without burning)
- Once bacon had rendered, remove and set aside. Add neutral oil to bacon fat left in Dutch oven.
- Lightly salt cubes of elk and lightly dust all sides with flour. Once dusted with flour brown in bacon and oil blend over medium heat until golden brown. Once golden-brown set aside with bacon.
- Sauté onions and carrots until onions begin to become translucent and start to slightly color.
- Add garlic, tomato paste and herbs
- Once garlic and herbs become fragment add whole bottle of red wine. At this point be sure to scrape up any brown bits stick to bottom of the pot.
- Return browned meat and bacon to pot and add all of the beef stock and bring to a simmer
- Once pot begins to simmer, remove from stovetop and place in 325-degree oven.
- Check every hour for tenderness of the meat. Around the three-hour mark you may notice the meat is cooked but a little dry. This is because elk has very little fat. If this happens reduce heat to 225 and allow to cook another hour, until tender.
Onions and Mushrooms:
- In a separate skillet, place two slices of thick cut bacon that have been cut into one-inch strips.
- Cover with water and bring to a simmer and allow the water to evaporate and fat to render.
- Once bacon becomes crisp and fat has rendered, remove bacon.
- With bacon removed, add a couple TBS of a high temp oil and heat over a medium heat
- When oil is hot place a sprig of thyme,2 cloves of garlic and pearl onions in pan. Allow to cook on one side until of the onions develop a dark chocolate color. Remove and set to the side.
- Add quartered mushrooms to the pan. Allow to cook until they begin to soften and show color.
- During the final hour of cooking add mushrooms and onions to stew.
This stew is great served over rice, potatoes or even egg noodles
If Stew seems a little too thin, remove meat from pot and simmer on stove top until the liquid is your desired thickness.
Stew will develop more flavor as it settles over a few days.
The work is worth the reward