Elk for every occasion: 5 simple, everyday recipes | CraigDailyPress.com

Elk for every occasion: 5 simple, everyday recipes

Lauren Blair

— When you’ve got a freezer full of elk, it helps to have a little inspiration about what to do with it. The following five recipes covers most of the bases, whether you have company coming over for a summertime dinner on the patio or a hungry family to feed. Elk lends itself well to warm, hearty meals for the long winter months and also pairs well with the bright, fresh flavors of summer. Branch out, try something new and enjoy.

Ground elk tomato sauce with spaghetti squash

• Extra virgin olive oil

• 3 onions, chopped

• 10-12 cloves garlic, minced

• ½ tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

• 2 lb ground elk meat

• ¼- ½ cup red wine

• 3 x 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes

• 2 tsp dried oregano

• 2 tsp dried basil

• pinch of sugar, to taste

• salt, 1 to 2 tsp or to taste

• black pepper

• 1 large or 2 small spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and bake face down on a baking sheet in ½ inch of water for approximately 45 to 60 minutes. When the squash is tender, remove from the oven, let cool briefly, then scrape cross-wise with a fork to break apart the spaghetti-like flesh.

To prepare sauce, sauté onions, garlic and crushed red pepper in a large saucepan in olive oil over medium low heat until onions become translucent. Turn heat up to medium high and add ground elk. Stir frequently, allowing meat to brown. When the meat begins sticking to the pan, deglaze with a splash or two of red wine.

Add crushed tomatoes. Bring the sauce to a light simmer and turn heat to low. Let simmer uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes, or until sauce has thickened. Add oregano, basil, sugar to taste, salt and black pepper. Let simmer another five minutes and turn heat off.

Serve over a big pile of spaghetti squash with freshly grated parmesan cheese. It also goes great over regular pasta.

Elk fajitas

• 1 lb elk backstrap

• Grapeseed oil

• 1 yellow onion, sliced

• 1 red bell pepper, sliced

• 1 green bell pepper, sliced


• Corn or flour tortillas

• Shredded cheese

• Sour Cream

• Cilantro, chopped

• Lettuce, chopped

Spice rub:

• 1 tsp kosher salt

• 1 tsp garlic power

• 1 tsp cumin

• ½ tsp chili powder

• ½ tsp paprika

Season whole elk backstrap with ¾ of the spice rub. Cover and let sit for 30 to 60 minutes.

Cut the backstrap into thin slices and season with the remaining spice rub. Place a cast iron pan on the stove on medium to medium high. When hot, add a couple tablespoons of grapeseed oil, add sliced backstrap and cook for only a few minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add more oil and sauté the vegetables briefly, 3 to 5 minutes, so they are cooked but retain some crunch. Add elk meat back into the pan and remove from heat.

Serve on hot tortillas with all the fixins!

Elk roast

• 1 to 2 lb elk backstrap

• Oregano

• Cumin

• Rosemary

• Salt

• Black pepper

• 1 onion, sliced into wedges

• 1 to 2 bell peppers, sliced

• 2 to 4 anaheim, poblano or jalapeño peppers, chopped

• 3 tomatoes, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Combine about 1 teaspoon each of oregano, rosemary, cumin, kosher salt and about ½ tsp black pepper in small bowl. Trim backstrap and rub down with the spice mixture.

Place onions, peppers and tomatoes in large dutch oven or enameled cast iron pot with lid. Place the roast in the pot with the veggies and bake for 8 to 10 hours.

After about five hours, the meat should be tender. Pull meat apart with a fork and place back in the oven for another 3 to 5 hours.

Serve over rice or mashed potatoes.

Curried elk and sweet potatoes

• Coconut oil

• 1 onion, diced

• 6 cloves garlic, minced

• 1 sweet potato, diced

• 3 to 4 tsp curry powder

• 1 1/2 tsp turmeric

• 1 1/2 tsp cumin

• 3 tomatoes, diced (more if you like it saucy)

• 1 lb ground elk

• 1/2 red bell pepper, diced

• 1/2 green bell pepper, diced

• 1 jalapeño or chili pepper, diced (optional)

• 1 can chickpeas

• 1/2 to 1 cup plain yogurt

• Salt and cayenne to taste

Saute onion in ample coconut oil for a few minutes, then add garlic and sweet potato. Add curry powder, spices and cayenne (optional) and sauté until sweet potato is nearly soft.

Add tomatoes and cook for a few minutes — cover with a lid if sweet potato is still not soft. Add ground meat and cook until meat is done. Add bell pepper (and optional jalapeño or chili pepper) and chickpeas and cook for a few minutes, turn off heat, then stir in yogurt. Salt to taste.

Serve over rice with chutney and plain yogurt.

Green chili elk burgers

• 2 lb ground elk meat

• 4 to 5 green chilis, diced

• 1 tsp Cajun seasoning

Thoroughly mix ground elk with diced green chilis and 1 tsp Cajun seasoning. Divide the meat into six equally sized patties and press flat.

Cook on a grill or on a cast-iron pan on the stovetop, about 3 minutes each side for a rare burger, about 4 minutes for medium-rare or 5 minutes for medium.

For spice-lovers: top with pepper-jack cheese and serve with homemade chipotle mayo (blend equal parts mayonnaise and canned chipotle peppers in adobo) and a few slices of avocado. Yum!

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