Yes, I just said simple in the same sentence as “elk” and “morel”. It's true. Just because you had this instant vision of a majestic elk bugling in the crisp fall morning, it's warm breath fogging the air when I said the word “elk” doesn't make this stew complex.
Yes, elk are in the wild and you can hunt them. They're also grown on farms and you can buy the meat at farmers markets. Yup. Grown just like carrots.True story.
Now, you say morel and I say (insert random inappropriate cuss word here). Those delicious mushrooms evade me every spring when I find time to look for them. They always have, they always will. They are my little wrinkly nemesis, I love their taste, their texture, how there is no real poisonous alternative when picking them (really, the false morel is not even CLOSE to looking like a real one) and in essence : I love to hate them.
What I do love in that you can buy them dried in so many places but I like to pick mine up at Mo-Na Foods here in Edmonton. That little place is a mushroom lovers delight. Oh, what fun it is to stop in there and see what beauties are in season and what they have in stock!
And as you can see, I don't get out much.
This recipe is also gluten-free very easily, just leave out any flour you might use to coat the elk cubes before browning and Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce is cholesterol free, fat-free, preservative free and gluten-free. I'll show you how to thicken it without flour later on.
4 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp Worcestershire
8 cups of hot water ( use 1 1/2 for soaking the morels)
1.5 lbs cubed elk meat inside round steaks
1 leek diced
1 onion diced
1-2 russet potatoes diced very small
3 russet potatoes cubed (1 more if gluten-free)
1 tsp paprika
The elk I picked up is from Shooting Star Ranch and is very mild tasting, I would highly recommend their elk- or any ranched elk- for someone who is trying elk for the first time or has vivid recollections of very gamey meat from their childhood. You will notice that it smells stronger and you most definitely want to trim all the fat off when cooking it. The fat will add taste you do not want same with connective tissue, etc. Clean ‘er up.
I was very impressed that two gorgeous steaks were only $12 from these guys at the city market downtown, until my smarty pants friend Kevin remarked that his was free. Plus the cost of a tag. Indeed, that spurred me to think about doing a comparison flavor-wise between ranched elk and wild. I know the ranched is milder already but would love to take on one VS the other at the same time.
Ranched VS Wild Smackdown.
So cube up your elk meat nicely, look at how clean it is. If you aren't going gluten-free, you can toss them and coat them with flour then fry them up. If you are gluten-free, skip the flour and just fry them up until the meat is browned on all sides.
Soak your morels in hot water for about 30 minutes, I used about a cup and a half. See all that beautiful brown liquid there? DO NOT THROW IT OUT. You are going to put it into the pot.
I left my mushrooms whole so that not only could my daughter could pick them out but it just makes it that much more decadent. They are expensive and when I eat them I like to really enjoy them, a whole bite of them at a time. They were small ones though, a perfect spoon size.
This was done in the crock pot and came out beautifully.
You may be wondering why the potatoes are cubed in different sizes. The smaller cubed russets are going to dissolve much faster than the large, and by using russets they are going to give us a creamier soup base, which is really important if you are skipping the flour. I skipped flour in the entire recipe and you can see how beautiful it looks.
Sautee the onions, leeks and carrots quickly and then toss into the crock pot. Add in the rest of the ingredients and cook for 4-5 hours on high in your crock pot, again, this depends on how hot your crock pot gets. The elk meat needs to be almost falling apart tender and the potatoes/veggies very soft.
Taste your stew a few hours in and season accordingly. I like a lot of Worcestershire in mine so I added more in later on.
When the stew is ready to rock, take out a couple of cups of stew, heavy on the potatoes. This is why if you are going gluten-free you add in an extra potato.
Puree those bad boys up. Looks like thickener, doesn't it?
And it is. The simplest way to go gluten-free in a stew is to use potatoes as the thickener. I cannot stress enough though how you must use the right kind of potato. Yukon Gold are fabulous as well as any russet. If you use the wrong kind, you will get glue.
Stir your pureed mixture back into the stew to thicken it up , then serve and enjoy!
My kids ate this like starving feral dogs. My son, who doesn't like any beef, scarfed it down for dinner – two helpings- then proceeded to take it to school the next day for lunch.
Yes, my poor kids take elk and morel stew to school for lunch. I sometimes think I am spoiling them for real life later on. They better start learning the cooking ropes even more so they can cook for themselves, because this Mama ain't coming over to their apartments to cook them meals.
I'm creating monsters with appetites for fine food.
No, wait, they were monsters long before I started blogging about food. Never mind that theory.
I also liked how it took stew to a “nice” enough level for company. This is on my list of easy dishes that impress, between the elk and the morels it becomes a stew that's perfect for a dinner party.
I also like how it only took me approximately 5 weeks to finally get to this post. Five. Weeks. Later.
I uh, got nothing but excuses for you.
I do have so many delicious recipes stashed away, photos to be edited, posts to be written up and that's not even including my PieDay ones. I've yet to blog about my reading room – and that was second in my poll of posts that people wanted me to do up- and um…Christmas.
I came across pictures from Christmas that I edited up all purty for everyone to see.
And didn't post them.
So, who's up for Christmas in February? That might be a nice No-Talkin' Tuesday post.
I also didn't write up my usual Thanks Be year in review post. I started it and didn't finish it.
I don't understand how I drive a car, remember my name or feed my children most days.
Really You're Getting Christmas In February Next Week Magpie