By Chris Pedone and Steve Mayer

Lifelong outdoorsmen with a passion for hunting, fishing and appreciation of nature and all things right with the world when you get out in it.
We are hunter-gatherers, and we like to Eat. (Never trust a skinny cook).
On a cold winter day with nothing to do take some time out to make this elk stew…
If you were lucky enough to get an elk tag and fill it, you are probably thinking of ways to prepare the tougher cuts of meat. This stew is packed with flavor and the wine makes an incredible sauce. You can substitute venison, antelope, moose, caribou or bear for the elk meat without any other changes. This recipe takes some time to prepare and the wine adds to the price per plate, but it is well worth the effort and expense. Will feed six to eight happy people.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces of diced bacon
  • 3 pounds of elk (or other game meat) cut into ¾ inch chunks
  • Kosher salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 1 cup of diced celery (about 3 stalks)
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 1 pound of carrots, sliced into 1-inch chunks
  • ½ cup of chopped parsley
  • 5 cloves of freshly chopped garlic
  • 1 (750ml) bottle of Babcock Pinot Noir (available at wildgamewine.com)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon rosemary
  • 3 ounces (1/2 small can) tomato paste
  • 5 medium russet potatoes cut into ½ inch chunks
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms cut into large chunks
  • 2 to 4 cups of beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Preparation Method

Using a large heavy pot heat the olive oil and add the bacon. Cook over medium heat about 10 minutes until bacon browns. Stir occasionally to cook evenly. Remove the bacon from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside. Season the meat with salt and pepper and sear in the bacon grease over medium-high heat until well browned on all sides. Work in small batches and do not crowd the meat to ensure a nice brown color. This is the basis for great flavor and will take about 4-5 minutes per side. Once browned remove the meat and set aside with the bacon. When all the meat has been browned, add the celery, onions, carrots, a tablespoon of salt, and a tablespoon of pepper to the fat in the pot. Saute’ over medium heat, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Add the parsley and garlic and continue to cook for two more minutes and remove all vegetables from the pot to a plate.

Add about a half cup of the wine to the hot pot to de glaze, scraping any brown bits stuck to the pot. These are packed with a ton of flavor. Add the rest of the wine, the meat and bacon, the bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, and tomato paste to the pot. The recipe is based on Pinot Noir wine for the classic “Bourguignon” flavor, although any good red wine will work. Check out wildgamewine.com for smoking deals on great wines. Simmer covered over very low heat for 1 hour. Add the vegetables, potatoes, mushrooms, and enough beef broth to cover them. Cover the pot and simmer another 2-3 hours until meat is tender. If the sauce needs thickening melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the flour. Add this mixture to the stew and stir well. Simmer another 10 minutes, uncovered and season to taste. I have paired this with a Bella Luna “Lot One” Barbera available at wildgamewine.com, your source for the best California wines. The richness of the dish goes well with the acidity of this sumptuous Barbera. Serve with some garlic bread and proudly serve your game meat. Game On! Click here to download a recipe card for this dish.