You won’t find me in camo or a bright orange jacket this month but hunting season still impacts my life.
Or should I say my cooking? Personally the tale of how little packages of elk wind up in my freezer does nothing for me. However it makes my husband and our very own Dan at Condos in Steamboat happy. Fall for them is more about heading to the hills gun in hand than admiring the glorious colors on a sedate hike.
Maybe you are here to camp or staying in the Valley at one of our Hotels or Condos in Steamboat, whatever your preference your daytime mission is to leave here with meat to share.
Elk may not be to everyone’s taste, but on the “good for you” scale it is up there, lean and loaded with iron. Hands down the best restaurant in town, Café Diva offers it year round. Locally it’s thought of as their signature dish. While the rest of us fail to conjure up anything as delectable as their in-house creations, there are several go to favorites that are relied on by us lesser chefs.
One cookbook that can be found in most Yampa Valley kitchens is Steamboat Entertains, the result of a local fundraising campaign for Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. Many of the recipes go back for generations; here are a couple tried and tested favorites. One asks for beef steak, but my neighbor and I prefer to use elk.
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp chili pepper
1 Tbsp BBQ sauce
Fresh root ginger or fresh herbs (optional)
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Excellent as marinade for elk or venison. Grill meat to desired temperature. Makes enough for 2 lbs. of meat.
Winter Green Chili Stew (can be used with beef)
2 tbsp olive oil
1Ib elk steak (cut into ½ inch cubes)
2 yellow onions diced
1 cup red wine
8 cups water
2 carrots, diced
2 potatoes cut into ½ inch cubes
½ cup diced green chilies
1 cup beef stock
1 ½ tsp cumin
1 ½ tsp coriander
2 cups salsa, canned or your own
Salt and pepper to taste
36 large garlic croutons (to follow)
3 ozs grated cheddar cheese
3 ozs grated Monterey jack cheese
In a large heavy saucepan heat the oil. Sauté steak and onions for 2-3 minutes. Add wine and water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Add carrots, potatoes, green chilies, beef stock, cumin, coriander and salsa. Simmer for 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper. To serve place stew in serving bowls and top with croutons and a sprinkle of cheese. Broil until cheese melts. Top with sour cream and a sprinkle of red Chile powder. SERVES 6
Melt ½ cup of butter. Add a huge amount of minced garlic, a handful of parsley, a good dose of white pepper and salt. Pour over some large French bread cubes and bake in the oven until they are brown and crunchy.
Elk Stroganoff (not a personal favorite as I have an aversion to canned mushroom soup, but plenty folks seem to love this one!)
2 lbs elk steak, cubed
¼ cup water
1 large yellow onion chopped
3-4 cloves garlic pressed
1lb fresh mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed
2-10 oz cans cream of mushroom soup (or white sauce)
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups sour cream or part plain yoghurt
1lb prepared pasta, preferably fresh
Spray large skillet with vegetable spray. Add ¼ cup water. Over medium heat sauté onion until translucent. Add meat and garlic. Cook until meat is browned, about 5 minutes. Add mushroom caps, cream of mushroom soup and Worcestershire sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare pasta and drain. Just before serving, add sour cream to stroganoff mixture. Stir thoroughly and bring to a boil. Serve immediately by spooning over pasta. Serves 8.
So all you hunter gatherers out there; no excuses for not creating something sensational after the thrill of the kill is over and you are back on your home turf.
Please feel free to add to our recipe repertoire, we’d love to hear from you.
Story and collection by Suzi Mitchell.